Changes Come to Hall Draw Process

By Vritti Goel and Tori Mirsadjadi '12, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Copy Editor

As the time to choose next year's rooms approaches, Scripps has commenced with unveiling the big changes to next year’s options, beginning with the theme: “There’s no place like dorm.” While the process of hall draw remains relatively unchanged, students no longer have as many off-campus options.

According to Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Staci Buchwald, Scripps has decided not to use College Park Apartments (CPA) anymore. In an email correspondence with Buchwald, she wrote that “CPA was deemed to be not cost effective to have only two students share and students did not express any interest in living at CPA with 3-4 people per apartment.” Buchwald explained that Scripps has also reduced the number of Brighton Park apartments available to students. Students still have the option to live on the all-Scripps third floor of Smiley Hall at Pomona, complete with a Scripps RA, in a continuation of this year’s trial period.

The dwindling number of off-campus options—and the accompanying worry that there will not be enough rooms on campus—may exacerbate the already-present worry that many students experience every year around this time: that they will not get good rooms. Buchwald urges students not to stress, however. “There are no bad rooms at Scripps,” she said. “You may not get your first choice, but you will get a good space.” The most popular hall changes year to year, according to Buchwald. “I am always interested to see which hall is most popular on the actual draw nights. I think it changes because the personalities of the students change as well. Different things are important to different people.”

In spite of her reassurances, Buchwald avoided addressing whether or not the planning committee was prepared to deal with the large incoming classes that the previous two years have seen. Wrote Buchwald, “Rooms were re-evaluated over winter break and may have a new occupancy designation in cases of need. So, lots of triples for the first-year students at the moment.” It sounds as if we will continue the past couple years’ trend toward having rooms previously designated as singles or doubles house two or three students. Buchwald said that the last two incoming classes were “larger than anticipated.” Buchwald wrote, “it was not planned for them to be as big as they are.” She also said that she could not speak to admissions statistics as they relate to hall planning, as those statistics are the jurisdiction of the admissions office.

With Buchwald’s deferral of a discussion of the size of next year’s class as it relates to hall draw planning, it sounds as if housing for Scripps students cannot actually be planned in advance—at least not concretely. There is no way to predict the size of each incoming class until the first day of New Student Orientation.

To keep students’ stress levels about choosing next year’s rooms to a minimum, the Hall Draw Committee—a group of RAs, Hall Directors and other students—is hosting the traditional information sessions to answer any questions students may have.

According to Buchwald, there will be an information ses- sion just for first years, to demystify what for them is a completely new process. In addition to holding open hours for first-years in the Dean of Students office, Buchwald will take individual appointments and meet with “anyone who wants to strategize using their number once the lot- tery numbers have been posted.”

Regarding what’s new to the process this year, Buch- wald was reticent. “The housing eligibility policy has been formalized and is very important,” she said.

Resident Advisor Lily Foss (‘13), who is part of the Hall Draw Committee, expanded somewhat on the pro- cess. “We’re streamlining the hall draw process to make it as stress-free as possible,” Foss said. “The informational booklet is completely electronic, and unnecessary aspects of the process will be eliminated to curb confusion.”

Both Buchwald and Foss stressed the importance of attending information sessions. Buchwald stressed that students who read the booklet and attend information sessions “tend to do very well” at managing the process. Buchwald also solved the mystery of the lottery numbers: “They are randomly generated by computer by the Jenzabar CX system which is the database for the College,” she explained.

Buchwald’s main advice for students looking to live in doubles, triples, quads, suites or houses? Don’t worry about those randomly-assigned numbers. “The best living situations happen when you live with people who you enjoy and do not just pick folks based on their lottery number.”