ResLife to begin new housing software, late housing resolved
Washington University’s Office of Residential Life will unveil a new software system to be used during the housing assignment process during the next academic year.
According to Executive Director of Residential Life Kawanna Leggett, the University will reveal a comprehensive housing software solution called StaRez, which includes housing applications, an online roommate and room selection process and room matching processes. In addition, reporting tools will allow ResLife to communicate in a more efficient manner with students. ResLife aims to implement the software by November of the upcoming academic year.
“We’re going…[to] add more pieces around the software solution product that really walks students through the housing portal and helps them select spaces. Students will be able to go online and see what’s available and pick spaces that way,” Leggett said. “That’s not to say that we won’t still do those meetings one-on-one, but we’ll be able to reduce those number of unassigned students.”
While new software will be introduced in October or November, the housing lottery will remain part of the housing selection process. According to Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rob Wild, roughly 5-10 percent of students are left unassigned at the end of the housing process. Unassigned students typically fall into two categories: those whose preferences don’t align with available housing and individuals who decline to participate in the selection process and are administratively assigned.
“Every year that we’ve done this, we’ve had a pool at the end that are unassigned. That doesn’t mean we don’t have enough housing. We don’t have the type of housing that meets the demand,” Wild said.
According to Wild, these students are usually assigned to housing on an individual basis following personal conversations about their housing preferences considering the options remaining.
“What we’ve historically said is we want to have a very high-touch process to get those students assigned. We want to bring them in personally, sit across the table from them [and] have a conversation about where they will live next year because we know housing is a really important decision for students,” Wild said.
Sophomore Abheek Raviprasad applied during the second round of housing and was left unassigned. He discussed his suite’s lower lottery average, preference for a four-person suite and how ResLife found housing for him and his suitemates.
“When the assignments came out, ‘not assigned’ was written on our petition. We got an email basically saying that because we weren’t assigned, we would be assigned later as spots opened up. Last week, we got an email from ResLife saying they had openings in the Lofts, so we could take that. But that would be two three-person suites near each other. So we could either fill those last two spots with people of our choosing or they would fill them themselves. My suitemate knew two people who wanted to live with us, so that worked out for us,” he said.
Wild views the software update as a supplement rather than replacement for ResLife’s student-centered housing process.
“Our process historically has been very student-centered in terms of giving returning students a lot of agency in their room selection,” Wild said. “The thing that’s going against us is we have so many different types of housing. It’s tricky.”