Students favor changing in-house draw

Feb. 16, 2011, 2:03 a.m.

Correction: In a previous version of this article, it was incorrectly reported that the in-house draw survey was conducted by Residential Education (ResEd). It was, in fact, conducted by Student Housing.

Slightly more than half of students who responded to a Student Housing survey indicated they would like to see a change in the in-house draw process. These results are part of an ongoing inquiry by Housing to improve the in-house draw, the aspect of the annual Draw that is the target of most student complaints.

In the current Draw process, students are assigned a randomly chosen number and rank their residences of choice online. Those with lower draw numbers are most likely to get into their residence of choice. Once students are assigned to their building, it is up to that residence’s future staff to conduct the in-house draw, where students meet to select their rooms.

Students favor changing in-house draw
(ERIC KOFFMAN/The Stanford Daily)

The way in-house draws are organized is largely left up to the new staff, and the process varies across residences. Under Housing’s proposed changes, the in-house draw would also be done online.

Rodger Whitney, executive director of student housing, has been working to gather feedback on the proposed changes since the beginning of the school year.

“We had several town hall meetings and met with ASSU leadership during autumn quarter to get feedback on this topic,” Whitney wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “We added these questions to the survey to gather input from a broader audience.”

The questions were part of the annual housing survey, which also asked students questions about the quality of the services provided in their residences. A total of 3,922 graduate and undergraduate students completed the housing survey. Only respondents who had participated in the Draw — current sophomores, juniors and seniors — were asked to answer the question about the in-house draw. Of those, 900 filled out responses to the questions, and slightly more than half of that number favored changing the in-house draw.

Students seemed split in their opinions about the potential change. Irteza Binte-Farid ’13, a Toyon resident, said she supported the possibility of doing room selection online.

Binte-Farid’s main complaint about the in-house draw process was the large amount of time some residents took to choose their rooms. Some residents, she said, chose their rooms more slowly because they were unfamiliar with the process, delaying the entire process for other residents.

“I think it would be less complicated than the current system, for sure,” Binte-Farid said. “It would be more streamlined if it’s online.”

Others, however, were skeptical of any improvement the new system could bring.

“It could be better, but I feel like you’d spend just as much time doing that one because you’d be looking at all the rooms online,” Toyon Resident Assistant (RA) Wesley Dunnagan ’12 said.

“I don’t think I would like that better,” he added.

Whitney also noted a conflict between the request for changing the process and some of the students’ responses to additional questions about the in-house draw.

“The survey indicated that students value the in-house draw meetings as an opportunity to select roommates, meet others from the house and become familiar with specific room spaces in the house,” Whitney said.

Binte-Farid expressed ambivalent feelings about transitioning to an online, in-house Draw.

“There is something to be said about meeting your new neighbors face to face,” she said. “So maybe if they compensated for that by having other gatherings or something, then that would be fun.”

Though this year’s Draw will not include a process through which students can select their rooms online, Whitney said that option may be available in the future. In the meantime, ResEd will continue to research how it can improve the Draw process.

“We will continue to work together to consider what parts of the current Housing and Residential Education processes to keep and what might be improved [and] connected differently,” Whitney said.

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