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The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

New online housing process will begin Friday

Technology has hit the Department of Housing and Residence Life and it “goes live” on Friday.

With a housing system that has nearly doubled in the last five years, Residence Life will be using an online housing application process this year.

“We had been running the same system since I came in 1995,” said Argyle Wade, director of housing. “Then there were approximately 1,800 spaces. Now there are approximately 3,500.”

The new system will be almost completely automated in assigning housing spaces based on the data hired by students.

Essentially, students will login to WebStar, list their roommate choices, rank their housing preferences and submit the form. At the conclusion of the application process, the computer prioritizes each group applying, based primarily on average credit hours, and matches their preferences to available apartments.

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The apartment applications will be available from March 1 through March 18. On March 19-21, Residence Life staff members will check for errors or inconsistencies with the computer results before notifying those students who did not get apartment assignments by March 22. On March 25, students will receive written notification of their apartment assignment.

A similar process exists for those students applying to stay within the residence halls. That process runs from March 22 through April 4.

Students must have 30 credit hours completed prior to this semester and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to apply for apartment living. Students must also have no significant discipline incidents during their time at SLU.

While the process should take only a few minutes to complete online, planning and coordinating with roommates is required before entering the data. Failure to coordinate with roommates will result in inaccurate pairings or possibly no apartment assignment at all.

Once logged into the application, students will be able to input their roommate choices and combinations. One can have up to three roommates and three roommate combinations, listed by their SLU e-mail username.

Once the roommates are selected, students have up to 44 different apartment configurations to rank in order of preference. Examples of these include Grand Forest 2 Bedroom/2 persons with balcony, Village Apartment Quad without balcony or Marchetti East 1 Bedroom/2 persons with balcony. Students may also select a meal plan should they desire one; they are required to have one if living in a residence hall.

The process is not complete until all roommates have applied and also confirmed their application and desire to live with each other.

An example of the process would be the following:

 Fictional students Bob, John, Dan and Chris want to apply for apartment living.

 They have an average of 75 credit hours between them, based on fall 2001 completed courses.

 They prefer to live in a Village Quad but plan ahead to split up into two doubles if necessary. Bob will live with John, and Dan will live with Chris if they cannot get a Quad. As doubles, their preferences are Village first then followed by Marchetti Towers and Grand Forest.

 Bob logs into WebStar. For roommate combinations, he first lists the SLU e-mail usernames of John, Dan and Chris. For his second combination he lists just John.

 Bob then places a “1” next to Village Apartment Quad with Balcony, a “2” next to Village Apartment Quad without Balcony, a “3” next to Village Apartment Double with Balcony, a “4” next to Village Apartment Double without Balcony, a “5” next to Marchetti West 1 Bedroom/2 Person and a “6” next to Grand Forest 2 Bedroom/2 Person. Those are the only places he wants to live, so he stops ranking them.

 John would do the same but lists Bob as his second roommate combination. Dan and Chris would list each other as their second roommate combinations.

 The process is only complete when all roommates login to WebStar and confirm their roommate selections on the “Roommate Addition Form” page.

 Bob, John, Dan and Chris patiently wait to find out where they will be living next year.

The process for students remaining in their apartment and pulling other students in is rather simple. Those students currently in apartments should list all the roommates they would like to have next year. They will also indicate that they are staying in the same apartment. Those students being pulled in should indicate the roommates they will have for next year.

The entire system was developed by Information Technology Services but incorporates many of the ideas from other university housing systems. Wade explained the system as a close mirror of the original process, but it takes out the appointments and should be less stress to students while being more efficient for his department.

In the past, students would complete forms, submit them to Residence Life, which would have to prioritize them manually, and then attend a scheduled appointment to sign up for any available spaces.

According to Wade, the process was automated to be more convenient for students, who have 18 days to complete the application from any Internet-connected computer, as well as convenient for Residence Life.

The system has been in development since October, said Terry Signorello, assistant director of housing. “It was like a logic puzzle that would never end,” he joked.

The system went through two tests that utilized Residence Life student staff. Based on the tests, several minor changes and clarifications have been made to improve the system, said Signorello.

Throughout the process, the system will be monitored daily to look for any technical glitches. Once the computer processes the information and assignments, Residence Life staff will examine it for inaccuracies before sending out housing assignments.

Wade advised, “The more flexible you are in your choices, the more we’re able to accommodate you.”

Signorello is putting together a list of frequently asked questions to include on the Web site. Students are also encouraged to contact Residence Life with any questions at 977-2811. A paper version of the online application is also available and will be entered into the system manually by Residence Life staff.

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