University Housing aims for shorter lines for dorm sign-up

Sheila Burt

The housing process for all undergraduates who want to live on campus begins April 22 after students apply for a priority number this week.

The 10-day process later this month for all non-residential colleges will be held in the west dining room of Foster-Walker Complex, said Mark D’Arienzo, associate director of university housing.

He said the new location will make the previously overcrowded process at Annenberg Hall less stressful for students. The assignment process remains unchanged from last year.

Students received housing application cards last week and can apply for a priority number at the Undergraduate Housing Web site, www.northwestern.edu/housing, by 5 p.m. Monday. Priority numbers will be e-mailed to students after Tuesday.

Between April 22 and May 2, students must attend the designated housing appointments for singles, doubles, triples and quads. The appointments take place from 5 to 10 p.m. each night.

“We’re going to line the people up (based on the number) so people don’t feel the need to come early,” D’Arienzo said. “But be there when the door opens.”

Priority number assignments are based on students’ entering class — not their academic standing.

Sagar Shah, a Weinberg freshman with junior standing, said he wishes housing assignments were based on academic standing.

“It’s fair, I guess,” he said. “But I don’t like fair.”

According to the housing office’s Web site, NU can accommodate about 4,250 students in its residence halls in 2003-04 academic year. About 1,925 are reserved for entering freshmen.

D’Arienzo said the new priority housing process, which began last year, allows students to walk away and know where they will be living next year.

Last year 28 male students were put on waiting lists for housing after the process. All of them were placed by Fall Quarter.

Though D’Arienzo said housing officials are examining how the process goes this year before making drastic changes, he said university officials hope to create an online housing system in the future.

“The goal is to not have a student leave their room to apply (for housing),” D’Arienzo said.

Housing officials have purchased an online software program called Residential Management Systems, but they are waiting for a software update before any changes would be made to the housing process.

“We want to make sure it works before we put it out there,” D’Arienzo said.

He said the online process most likely will not be ready for use next year because it must be centralized to coordinate housing on the Chicago and Evanston campuses.