Students struggle with online housing
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 17:02
While the Residence Life online application was developed in 2010 to make housing sign-ups easier, three years later, students are still struggling with the online portal.
The problems students are having range from not getting emails to having no clue how the portal works.
Brett Shirley, a junior psychology major of Bono, said his experience with the online application has been difficult. “It’s not too hard signing up as an individual, but it gets difficult when trying to sign up two or more people,” Shirley said.
Patrick Dixon, director of Residence Life and associate dean, said that most of the problems come from a low amount of housing availability.
“I think that some of the challenges that our students have faced include sometimes we run out of rooms and that’s not a product of (the program) it’s just a product that there’s a higher demand of number of rooms,” Dixon said. “That’s really stressful for some of our students.”
said that an online application was a necessary step forward. “The reason that we (started it) was because we wanted to provide a better customer service component to our sign-up process,” Dixon said.
Joshua Pock, a sophomore music major of Batesville, thinks that the sign up process should revert back to personally signing up in the office. “When a lot of people are signing up at the same time, using the application at the same time, it causes it to crash,” Pock said.
Dixon explained that before the online application the sign up process would consist of lines extending all the way out the building. “Our goal was to end the lines and to allow the students to have more control and flexibility when they went through sign up,” Dixon said.
“I do prefer the online application,” Shirley said. “The digital access is much more efficient and reliable.”
Dixon said there is a notable difference in the amount of people lining up in the Residence Life office.
“The only time we do see lines is when we have the no-questions-asked room changes, but other than that people are able to go into the computer, book the room and get roommates together,” Dixon said. “It has also made us greener. We don’t have as many files as we used to have to maintain. It has made it more efficient for us.”
Dixon said the good feedback he has received comes from faster sign-ups and hassle-free to people enjoying the ability to go selecting their room, roommates and knowing exactly when to make those decisions, according to Dixon.
Shirley said that the problem he has had is running into rooms that are maxed out. “You don’t ever know if you will get the room you want or not,” Shirley said. “There needs to be less steps to the process.”
Pock believes there is a glitch in the system that has caused a lot of people trouble signing up. “It is so particular,” Pock said. “If you go through the entire application and confirm it, it automatically thinks you have a room when you don’t.”
Dixon has encountered students having problems not receiving their email informing them of their sign up time. “We can go back and trace it but you get a lot of emails all day. Sometimes you delete it, don’t follow instructions or don’t look at it and you miss the sign up time,” Dixon said. “Those are some of the things that we are trying to work out.”
Shirley thinks there needs to be a change in who is in control of signing a group up for housing. “Usually what happens is that if one person messes it up, the entire group suffers for it,” Shirley said.
Dixon said being aware of Residence Life emails is students’ best bet in successfully signing up for housing.
“Read instructions,” he said. “A lot of the times we run these systems during our office hours so if there are problems, feel free to call our office and we can walk them through it. They can visit the office; we have a computer here in the office that we can go over it and we can see exactly what they’re seeing to see exactly what the problem is.”