Residential colleges change housing points system, capping number of returnable students


Brian Meng/Daily Senior Staffer

Willard Residential College. A cap on the number of returning students in residential colleges will be limited to the top 50 percent of point-earners in each residential college population

Joshua Irvine, Reporter

Students hoping to return to their residential colleges face new pressures following changes to the housing system that will cap the number of returnable students to 50 percent of the total current residential college population.

Benjy Apelbaum, the vice president of public relations for the student-run Residential College Board and former Daily staffer, said the 50 percent cap is part of an effort by Residential Services to balance representation of new and returning students in housing. The Weinberg senior pointed to the introduction of older students to the previously all-freshman Elder Hall and 1838 Chicago as examples of the new system.

“They’re changing things so they’re all a little more similar,” Apelbaum said.

The new rules were addressed in a Dec. 14 email from Residential Services to residential college students. Mark D’Arienzo, the senior associate director at Administrative Services, said in an email to The Daily that the 50:50 ratio of first-years to residential college-returnees was announced in Fall 2017.

Under the new system, residential colleges will compile a list of students ranked by the number of points they have obtained in fall and winter quarter, the Residential Services email said. Points are obtained through a number of residential college- and University-sponsored activities, including attending speaker events and engaging in philanthropic and cultural activities.

Previously, residential college students only had to achieve a predetermined number of points to be allowed to return the following year.

The top 50 percent of point earners will be sorted into eight groups based on points. Individuals from these groups will then be assigned certain times to pick their room in the residential college from a web form managed by Residential Services, with higher-ranked groups getting preference, the email said.

Room selection will be handled by Residential Services instead of student-run executive boards of each residential college.

Appelbaum said the changes to the room selection system were made to ensure that students with medical or financial concerns could communicate with Residential Services instead of having to disclose personal information to the student executive board. He added that quotas have previously been placed on the number of students that could return to a residential college, but outside of Slivka and Chapin Hall the quotas were rarely filled.

“I would hope that there’s not too much chaos in terms of people not being able to live where they want to live,” Apelbaum said.

The new points requirement has some residential college students concerned about obtaining the necessary number of points to remain in the top 50 percent.

Lena Galbreath, a Communication first-year and Chapin resident, said not all students are able to engage in residential college events because of scheduling conflicts, making it harder to accumulate points.

“You’re still involved per se, but you’re not able to participate in events that are (point-approved),” Galbreath said.

Caleb Young, a Weinberg first-year and Willard resident, said he found the transition from points to percentage “annoying” and “negative.”

The 50 percent cap on students returning to the same residential halls and residential communities has been in place since last academic year. This is the first year it will apply to residential colleges.

Galbreath said that the imposition of the points requirement this year had affected Chapin’s close-knit community, creating a competitive atmosphere.

“Now you’re not battling so much for a point goal; you’re battling one another,” Galbreath said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @maybejoshirvine

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