Underclassmen Housing Selection Revamped

Residence Life launched a new system for the freshmen and sophomore housing selection process this year. Students can now earn extra campus engagement points to boost their housing appointment times.

Residence Life is experimenting with this new program in an effort to support a recent commitment by the College to increase student engagement on campus.
Assistant Director of Residence Life Lisa Gonsisko said that the process itself has not been changed, but modified.

“While keeping you in your class status, we are going to determine appointment times based on your campus engagement points,” Gonsisko said.

While scheduling appointment times, Residence Life will look at a four person group’s campus engagement points. If there is a cluster of groups with the same amount of points earned, their appointment times will be selected at random. This same system has been used in the past when there was more than one group of students with the same number of credits.
According to Gonsisko, Residence Life is experimenting with freshmen and sophomores first because they are partnering with two different committees on campus who have launched the Earn Your Wings program for underclassmen.

The idea for the new housing selection came about last spring, following the College’s renewed commitment to campus engagement. It is a way for Residence Life to promote this commitment while creating a new way to schedule housing appointment times.

Similar programs are in place at Rutgers-Newark and Seton Hall University, but those programs are not exactly identical to Ramapo’s new system. According to Gonsisko, there are few other schools that determine housing selection by credits or points. However, Gonsisko said that a lot of schools use a lottery system, which can sometimes result in freshmen getting the most desirable housing rather than upperclassmen. Some schools even use GPA and discipline measures.

Ramapo intends to use discipline as a factor for housing selection in the future, according to the directors of Residence Life.

All residents were e-mailed a chart detailing how they can earn campus engagement points for housing selection. The three categories are on-campus residency, current campus involvement and current residence hall involvement. These categories of involvement encompass activities, such as being a member or captain of a recognized college athletic team, attending Earn Your Wings programs and being an executive board member or active member of the Residence Hall Council or Residence Hall Association for a full semester.
Ramapo graduate John Atti is in charge of tallying the points for housing selection and reading and responding to student concerns sent to points@ramapo.edu.

“Some of the things on the co-curricular transcript are used in our system, but we are not based on the CCT. Not everything on their CCT will count towards housing selection,” Atti explained.

Atti said that tallying up the points is easy, thanks to technology.

“We have hardware and software right now that as long as you go to an event and swipe in, your name is going to appear on all these different systems, and we can just get a spit out point tally,” Atti said.

It is important for students to understand that not every event or activity is swipe-based. For example, if students are on an e-board, although they do not swipe in, they will get points for their involvement. Even though students may not be aware, their attendance and involvement all over campus is being monitored.

Linda Diaz, director of Residence Life, said that this program is designed to benefit engaged students. Diaz said that when students are engaged on campus, they are more connected to the school, something Residence Life is looking to do.

“We want to have more engaged students, and I think that you are engaged by whether you are in a coveted organization, you’re in athletics, you’re going to RA programs, you’re involved in residence hall council, residence hall association on campus and so forth, you’ve lived on campus before. All of these things provide you with points,” Diaz said.

Residence Life shared this plan with the Student Government Association, who provided positive feedback and overall thought that the program was a good idea. Now, other Ramapo students are reacting to the system as they are being made aware of what will earn them points for housing selection.

Sophomore Jeff Bendett said this will definitely help the College because students will be more inclined to participate in campus activities.

“The program will benefit students who have less credits but are active on campus,” Bendett said. “It’s better because now students may be earlier in the selection process by participating on campus.”

Mike Samlall, another sophomore, is not as comfortable with the change.

“I’m not sure how I feel about the change, since I’m not too sure how some things are weighed over others yet. For example, going to the club fair versus serving on an e-board,” Samlall said.

Samlall added that he does think the change will help get more people involved on campus.

“It’d be nice if you didn’t just swipe in, but also swipe out, so that people would have to stay or otherwise get five minutes of credit,” Samlall said.

With 2,754 residents currently on campus, it is hard to find a process on which everyone agrees. According to the directors of Residence Life, most schools have complaints about housing because there is always somebody unhappy.

Residence Life is using this year as the pilot year for the program, and the office is hoping to work out any kinks in the program before it is to be approved for next year.