By Matt Holzapfel
For many students, housing selection time can be a stressful, tiring time. It’s right up there with class selection and finals time in the eyes of some at Elon. Each year Elon’s Residence Life staff urges students to be prepared and have backup plans so there’s no need to stress, but what many people are not aware of is the amount of effort and preparation that goes into housing selection season behind the scenes, to take some of the stress off of the students.
Marquita Barker is the Senior Associate Director of Residence Life at Elon University, but Elon students may know her as the person behind all those “nagging” housing emails that show up in their inbox every January and February.“We advertise the process in a variety of ways including email, flyers, banners, chat sessions, info sessions, and floor meetings,” Barker said. ” We want to make sure they are as prepared as possible so the stress level can be reduced.” Res Life staff are responsible for managing the “daily operations of the residence life program”, “monitoring, forecasting, and management of occupancy”, and providing “leadership in developing and improving business processes and procedures and represent Residence Life in university initiatives”, among other things.
One main concern that students have expressed as this year’s housing selection time inches closer is actually in regards to an issue from last year. After a few days of housing selection had been completed, there were some technical issues with the system. These issues eventually forced Elon to restart the majority of the housing process for many students, only adding to the stress and confusion of Elon students and those working hard in the Residence Life offices.
This year, however, Elon is committed to ensuring that there is not a repeat of last year’s incident. “Last year was the first year with new software and glitches with a new system are common,” admitted Barker. “We have worked with the software company to design the process in such a way to avoid overload on the system to avoid the same issues from last year.” Reports after the glitch last year indicated that the new system was most likely not ready for the mass amounts of traffic that it received when housing selection opened for many students, and that was what caused the crash, as well as the eventual reset.
Sophomores are guaranteed a spot on campus (Colonnades, Danieley, Global, Historic, Loy Center, Oaks, Park Place, and Station at Mill Point) and there are many available spaces on and off campus for upperclassmen to live next year. Despite this, many still find themselves nervous about availability when it comes time to sign a lease or pick a room. “We would advise them to try not to stress about the process. If they are a sophomore next year, they are guaranteed a space. Our staff is more than happy to speak with students one on one about their questions,” said Barker when asked about what advice she would give to any students who are stressing out about housing. “They should definitely attend one of the sessions to speak with someone if they are stressed. It’s also not about where they live as much as it is about who they live with. This is why we encourage students after the first year to choose their own roommates.” Elon hosts roommate socials on campus for people who are unsure about their living situation for next year, specifically who they want to live with. These events can help ease the nerves and assist students in deciding on their most viable options for housing next year.
So DO have a plan. DO NOT worry or stress too much about housing. DO make sure you know your housing time and date, and DO NOT wait until the last minute to decide who you want to live with and where you want to live.
Juniors and Seniors can sign up for housing/renew their leases from February 26 to March 6. Sophomore sign up days are from March 27 to March 30. For more information about Residence Life at Elon, you can visit http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/residence_life/neighborhoods/overview.xhtml. You can email any housing related questions to Marquita Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org.