Campus Engagement Points Eliminated from Housing Process

As of this academic year, campus engagement points will no longer be used to determine the time slot students receive to choose their housing assignment.

The decision was made by the Student Engagement Steering Committee, although students will still have campus engagement points on their Co-Curricular Transcripts, said Patrick Chang, associate vice president for student affairs.

Beginning last year, Residence Life pioneered a new housing selection process for freshmen and sophomores, which used campus engagement points in addition to academic credits to determine the time slot for underclassmen to choose their housing assignment. In this way, if a group of four students had the same amount of academic credits as another group of four students, campus engagement points would then be taken into account. Juniors were not affected by this new procedure.

Students earned campus engagement points by attending various on-campus events that the College denoted–events they felt students should be participating in and swiping in to receive campus engagement points. Commuters could also earn these points to potentially earn premium parking.

Chang explained that the purpose behind this process was to promote student engagement. It was a college-wide initiative to encourage students to attend certain events that the College deemed important.

While the campus engagement points system did result in higher attendance rates, it wasn’t necessarily the outcome the administration had hoped for.

 “People were attending events for all the wrong reasons,” Chang explained, adding that students would often go to events and swipe in, but not stay to participate in the event.

Plus, Chang said students were attending events not out of interest, but solely with the hope of achieving better housing or parking. Statistics show that freshmen and sophomore residents formed 97 percent of the students with the highest amount of engagement points, supporting the idea that many students were going to events with only the housing points in mind.

Other difficulties with the campus engagement housing points system included confusion among students, Chang said, especially unaffected juniors and seniors who weren’t sure what the points were for. The system also resulted in extra work for Residence Life staff, including the need to manually enter and verify a student’s points.

Chang said Residence Life also received requests for waivers from special interest groups petitioning to be exempt from collecting campus engagement points because of their packed schedules and commitments. Sports teams and theater societies had asked for priority housing for their members without needing to earn campus engagement points, reasoning that the students were too busy with sports practices, rehearsals, games or shows to have time to attend events on campus.

For this year, Residence Life is returning to the former system of only using academic credits to determine what time slot students receive to select their housing. Within the same grade, the group member with the highest amount of credits will be the determining factor for what time the group gets. If several groups have the same number of points, there will be a lottery for times, and if students in different grades wish to room together, they will assume the grade of the lowest student in the group, with the credit rules applying from there.

Students seem to have mixed opinions on reverting to the old system.

Mary Claire Rooney, a sophomore resident, claimed she didn’t have much contempt about this change in housing selection.

 “I pay more attention to my academics than campus involvement, so I’m okay with this change,” Rooney said.

On the other hand, another sophomore Cheyenne Galante said the system worked for her.

“I liked the engagement points,” she said. “I transferred in, so my credits got messed up but I went to a lot of events. But I guess the engagement points aren’t fair for everybody because not everyone can attend things.”

Jared Schneider, a senior, said that although he was not affected by the new system, he had several sophomore friends who expressed complaints about campus engagement points being used in the housing process.

“My friends were saying that it wasn’t fair, that they didn’t have time to attend the events,” Scheider said. “I definitely like the credits way better. I think it’s more fair that way, because you should have more privilege the longer you’ve been here, the more work you’ve put in.”