SGA: Nobody made a winner in College’s housing lottery

At the April 11 meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA), Chris Rindosh, vice president of Student Services, discussed flaws within the College’s current housing lottery system. Rindosh outlined new problems created by recent changes made to the system and presented plans for addressing them with College administrators.

According to Rindosh, administrators decided to eliminate the “contract pickup” stage of the lottery. This particular step required students to obtain their housing contracts at a designated location to confirm their participation in the lottery. In the past, students had forgotten to pick up their contracts on the assigned day and were inadvertently left out of the lottery.

Rindosh said contract pickup created complications within the Office of Residence Assignments. Students who required campus housing for financial and other reasons were left out of the process. This prompted the decision for the elimination of mandatory contract pickup.

Rindosh said this decision introduced a new problem. In previous years, students who did not intend to live on campus would forego contract pickup. These students’ lottery numbers would be removed from the list, opening the unoccupied housing space to a second cutoff of students.

The removal of the contract pickup stage meant the elimination of the second cutoff. For students on the housing wait list, this meant being placed randomly with a roommate where space was available. Rindosh said he supports the decision to eliminate the contract pickup stage. He would, however, like to see some type of punitive measure for those who intend to live off campus and do not inform the Office of Residence Life.

“If students (who intend to live off campus) don’t relinquish their spots, they’re inconveniencing other students who could use them,” Rindosh said. He added that he will be meeting with Ryan Farnkopf, manager of housing operations, to address the situation.

SGA passed the New Residence Hall Flood Resolution with a unanimous vote. According to Meagan Terry, dining services liaison, the resolution was created with the intent of “thanking the people that helped out in the New Res flood situation.” Groups mentioned in the resolution include the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Conference and Meeting Services, Building Services and others.

On Feb. 6, a sprinkler pipe that had been exposed to frigid outdoor temperatures burst and flooded a section of New Residence Hall, prompting a number of students to be relocated and causing property damage.

Rindosh, the draftee of the bill, said the flood proved both an unpleasant ordeal for students. Rindosh said affected residents disapproved of the emergency accommodations made by administrators. Students were relocated to Brower Student Center room 202 West, where they were given bare mattresses without pillows, sheets or blankets.

Dan Beckelman, vice president of Administration and Finance, questioned the necessity of the resolution. Both Terry and Magda Manetas, director for student and residential development, said staff involved in the cleanup efforts went “above and beyond” what was required.

Terry encouraged both students and SGA members to take part in the upcoming Dining Services focus groups. Sodexho’s contract is set to expire in June 2008 and the College is conducting a search to find a replacement contractor. The focus groups will be utilized to determine what elements of the present dining service will be incorporated into the new service through a new contractor. The focus groups will be meeting April 13, 20 and 27.

Sheil Naik, sophomore senator at-Large, described plans for a DVD rental service on campus. Naik, along with the rest of the Student Services committee, sought to have a DVD rental vending machine placed on campus earlier in the semester. Rental companies turned down the offer, saying the size of the campus would not generate enough of a profit. Presently, a rental service has been located that will provide the machine at no cost to the College. Naik said the machine could be available as early as next semester.

SGA granted official club status to the National Science Teacher’s Association (NTSA). NTSA members said though there are many clubs for the sciences at the College, none deal strictly with education. NTSA will bring alumni to the campus to discuss their experiences as educators.