Author: Soo Jin Kim
Room draw took place on April 7-9. One of the biggest events on campus, Room draw is the time when students are able to pick their rooms for the next academic year and was held in the Rangeview Hall courtyard. Room draw times are based on students’ class year and their numbers are randomly assigned. During room draw, there was a cotton candy corner where students could get free cotton candy with multiple refills and a raffle station where students could enter for a chance at a free Meal Plan D and room for next year.
“I think that [room draw] can be a stressful process for some students,” Assistant Community Director for Residence Life Caroline Kim said. “But it’s going as smoothly as it can, for the kind of process it is. I know students might disagree with that, but you know, it is what it is.”
“I’ve been by the cotton candy machine so far,” Director of Finance for Residence Halls Association (RHA), Evan Longmore (junior) said. “So I’ve been having a lot of fun. But on the other hand, I’ve seen some people crying, some people smiling – it’s a really emotional process sometimes when you don’t get the rooms you want.”
Rising sophomores all participated in room draw on Thursday as part of the mandatory two-year housing policy that the college began enforcing at the start of this academic year. Though students have been complying with the policy, there were some complaints about it.
“[The room draw process] is kind of stressful,” Marvin Trani (first-year) said, “because I don’t know if I can get the room that I want. It’s good for the school, but not for us.” His friend, David Whorton (first-year), agreed. “I would live off campus if [I was] given the option,” Whorton said.
Another rooming policy that has been passed by the college is the 3-year mandatory rooming policy that will be effective starting with the incoming first-year class next semester. This will make it a requirement for all first-years to live on campus for three years, an additional year to the existing two-year mandatory living policy that the current first-years must follow.
“I would not have liked that at all,” Trani said. He added that after his second year of living on-campus, he will probably live off-campus. “I understand [Occidental College’s] financial troubles,” Briana Cartwright (first-year) said. “However, it’s difficult for everyone to live on-campus, space-wise.”
Others hope that the mandatory three-year residency will bring benefits to the college. “I think that it’s going to build a stronger sense of community,” Longmore said. “I think that the gap will be closer after the three years, but maybe if it’s an option . . . I don’t know how I feel about it being mandatory.”
“I think that students shouldn’t be concerned about how it affects them if they’re here now,” Kim said. “Students who want to come to this college know about the three-year living requirement [and] will come here willingly.” Kecia Baker, the Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing Services (ResLife) agreed, saying, “I definitely see the benefits of Oxy being a residential campus.”
The last group of students to participate in room draw were unable to successfully pick rooms and were put in a holding pattern. Baker said that these holding patterns were not permanent, just temporary. “As rooms start opening up, and room switches happen, we’ll be able to place them in rooms,” she said. Baker also said that a key reason for this was that most of the students had preferred doubles whilst only singles were left open at the end.
A major difference that was evident in this year’s room draw was the allowance of a process called “squatting.” Squatting is when students are given the option to live in the same room again for the coming year. “We’re always trying to enhance the [room draw] process,” Baker said. “If students wanted to remain in the same room and bypass the room draw process, why not?” Baker also noted that other schools have been allowing squatting in their room draw processes.
Baker also said, “ResLife continuously works with students after room draw with room switches and roommate switches.”There are no plans for any residence halls to be renovated during the summer, but some halls will be undergoing refurbishing. Chilcott Hall is scheduled to undergo light refurbishing and Norris Hall is scheduled to have work done during the summer after residence halls close in May. Baker said that Chilcott may receive new painting and perhaps the removal of its carpeted floors in favor of tiles, but said that anything else would be hard for her to promise. She also noted that changes to the plans can and may be made, but did guarantee that the rumors of Chilcott receiving air-conditioning are false.
Room cancellation deadline is on May 17, and students who do not cancel their housing option by then will be given a penalty which equals one semester’s room charge of whichever room the student picked during room draw. Baker explained the cost of the charge by saying, “We just don’t want students to hold rooms unnecessarily and block others from having a chance from living in the space or hall.”
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