Barnard’s got a new housing lottery system, and everyone is shivering with antici…pation. SGA Bureau Chief Dassi Karp visited last night’s meeting to find out more – as in, what even is it?
Last night, Barnard’s Student Government Association welcomed Matt Kingston, Associate Director for Housing Operations, to talk about the college’s new housing lottery system and answer questions. Kingston spoke kindly, confidently, and assuredly. He also seemed genuinely happy to be there and just as happy to help pass the SGA microphone around the room.
This year, Barnard Res Life was able to purchase access to StarRez software, an “industry leader” in housing lotteries. This particular software is used by many other colleges across the country, including CC and SEAS . Yup, that’s right–Barnard has decided to do something the same way Columbia does. A wonderful move, Res Life–how about we apply the same philosophy to guest sign ins? Kingston praised the system for using a process that people can understand that is flexible enough for last minute changes and adjustments to housing groups.
“There was no housing software company that would run the housing lottery the way we were before,” he explained, so the new process is a bit different than the one used previously.
SGA members had questions. University Senator Kira Dennis asked about how students should pick rooms within suites. Before, she said, groups tended to decide to give the people with the highest lottery number preference in choosing better rooms. Now that the group would only get one number, there’s no external method to decide. Kingston had a practical solution, saying “I would hope that groups would have those conversations with each other.” Reactions included snaps from some and shock from others (talk? to each other?).
Junior Rep to the Board of Trustees Tamar Dayanim asked about the potential of students having technical difficulties with the new software. For those with similar worries, check out the tutorials already posted on the housing website.
Other members asked about Sulz Tower, which is usually viewed as senior housing, but now is being picked on the last day. Some students have been asking that Sulz Tower be available for larger groups to pick in to. Kingston explained again that this new system makes it so that people choosing alone can have a chance for good housing, because “not everybody wants to be in a big group.” So this policy is not changing.
Smaller groups of students or individuals will no longer be able to pick into larger suites, except for the very few 9-person and 7-person suites, will be open on 1/2/3 day for students who want to pick into a suite but don’t have a group.
Overall, this seems like a good move, unless Barnard’s internet decides to stop working when everyone logs onto the housing portal at once. But we’ll deal with that when it happens. If you have any questions or concerns, check out the housing website for a list of info sessions and tabling times. And, if you really want, you can pick your housing online in the Res Life office, where you can be walked through the process the way you would walk your grandmother through checking her email. “I’m a little sad that I’m not going to see all the students during the lottery,” said Kingston. “But this is a good new system.”
In other news:
Lottery Scratch Ticket via graphicphotos