ASG dorm rating system may guide student housing choices

Jerome C. Pandell

Think Bobb Hall is too loud or Foster-Walker Complex is too anti-social?

An online rating system, approved at Wednesday’s Associated Student Government meeting, will allow Northwestern students to evaluate their dorms based on categories such as social atmosphere, cleanliness and usefulness of facilities.

ASG Student Services Vice President Courtney Brunsfeld said senators gave the bill emergency status so the new system, designed to be a type of “CTEC evaluations for dorms,” will be in place before the dorm assignment process for the 2002-03 academic year begins in late April.

“Incoming freshmen and people going into the assignment process for the first time may not have an idea of which dorms are best for studying habits or social needs,” said Brunsfeld, a Weinberg junior. “We’re trying to help students get into the right housing because that is such an important part of your college career.”

College Democrats Sen. Jason Lake, who co-authored the legislation, said the bill will give both incoming and current students a better idea of dorm life from a student perspective.

“When I was coming to NU, I looked at different halls and thought McCulloch looked good, but I did not realize it was connected to Bobb,” said Lake, a Weinberg junior. “(The Office of Undergraduate Residential Life) already has a survey, but it does not examine the interests of students.”

Willard Residential College Sen. Julia Travis said the dorm evaluation system will be an important step forward in showcasing students opinions, comparing it to the original Course and Teacher Evaluation Council survey that emerged from an ASG committee.

“It will be helpful especially for people who could not visit the campus before coming here,” said Travis, an Education freshman.

Brunsfeld said that although residential colleges will not be included in the new dorm assignment process, they still will be evaluated by residents.

“It might, in the future, help people decide whether to be a non-resident at a residential college,” she said.

But Residential College Board President Prashant Velagaleti, who will set up the evaluations as ASG technology director, said including residential colleges may not provide students with an accurate impression of residential college life.

“Most residential colleges have a theme, or, if they’re non-thematic, they have a history behind them,” said Velagaleti, a McCormick senior. “That should be the draw behind students wanting to live there. I would hope that people would not use ratings and numbers to match their particular interests.”

In addition, students evaluating dorms they haven’t lived in could be a potential problem, because it may not be possible to associate a student’s Net ID with his dorm or residential college, Velagaleti said.