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College revises housing policies

ASHLEY CHARNLEY | Friday, February 12, 2010

With room selection for the 2010-11 academic year quickly approaching, the Department of Residence Life and Community Standards at Saint Mary’s is working to help make the process run more efficiently with changes to the former quota system, renovations and additions to the Web site and more information sessions and more activities for students.

The quota system is one of the more disputed issues that has come up over the years, according to Slandah Dieujuste, director of Residence Life at the College. The system limited the number of students from the different class years that could live in each hall.

“We have heard quite a bit over the years how students didn’t think that was the best way to do room selection so we got rid of the quota system this year,” Dieujuste said.

The one exception, she said, will be in Queens Court, a small wing on the second floor of Le Mans Hall, which will be reserved for incoming students. 

“Instead of having first year students scattered around Le Mans, we want to try to create a small community for them,” Dieujuste said.

Residence Life will also begin posting information for room selection, including lottery numbers and times for selection, on its Web site, Dieujuste said. In the past, there has been a bulletin in Le Mans Hall, but she said that “wasn’t the most efficient way to do things.”

Unlike in the past, students will also be receiving their lottery numbers via e-mail rather than a list in Reignbeaux Lounge in Le Mans Hall, Dieujuste said.

Due to the changes being made, there will also be information sessions offered to students from any class year to help things run more smoothly, said Katy Shea, hall director of McCandless Hall.

Room selection itself has been moved from Reignbeaux Lounge to the Earley Conference rooms and Vander Vennet Theater in the basement of the Student Center, according to Holy Cross Hall director Christine Mihalopoulos.

In order to avoid making students wait all evening during selection if they have higher lottery numbers, Residence Life has created time slots for students in two-hour increments, Dieujuste said.

“The student will have a time to come during room selection and they [won’t] have to be there the whole night like in the past,” she said.

Dieujuste said students can also play a part in helping the night run better by paying attention to deadlines and the mail that is sent to them.

“It’s frustrating for me and I think for us to hear students ask for exceptions because they forgot a deadline and it’s something we cannot make out of fairness to everyone,” Dieujuste said. “We have to keep the system.”

A Roommate Social will be held for the students in search of a roommate for next year on March 4 in McCandless Hall from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

“We are still kind of working to see how it’s going to go, but it’s going to look at trying to find people that have similar living habits to them and just an opportunity to meet people in the Saint Mary’s community that they haven’t met yet,” Mihalopoulos said.

One thing that will not change in the room selection process is the requirement for students to remain on campus for six semesters. According to Dieujuste, it is in keeping with the mission of the College, which is to be a women’s residential institution.

“That was something that was voted in by the cabinet even before I came here,” she said. “Every year we hear rumors from the students that it has been done away with. It’s here to stay.”

Lastly, Dieujuste advises students to be thoughtful of whom they choose to live with and be sure that both parties know what they are getting in to.

“Choose your roommate carefully,” Dieujuste said. “[Students] need to have an honest conversation about their lifestyles and their habits, and even the roommate’s plan of whether or not they will back next semester or if they are going abroad or will be transferring. It is their responsibility to make sure they have that conversation with their friend and that they are on the same page.”