Monday, April 10 marked the start of an annual frenzy, most commonly known as the beginning of the General Room Selection (GRS) process. Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors alike meticulously map out their plans for housing, desperately holding out for a low-ranked order number from the random generator algorithm to maximize their chances of getting a favorable room. While the registration for GRS closes this Wednesday, April 26, day one of GRS looms on Friday, April 28. The GRS deadline makes for an excellent opportunity to look back at the housing process, perhaps in hopes of providing clarity and relief while reminding anxious students that it could be worse.
In a 2015 article titled “Juniors Face Subprime Housing Upon Return,” then-Contributing Writers Isabelle King ’16 and Cecilia Cereijido-Bloche ’16 spoke with juniors returning from their study-abroad travels to atypical housing assignments: graduate student apartments, off-campus housing, and underclassman dorm rooms. Then-Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Fran Koerting chalked up the unusual housing assignments to the 65-student influx of juniors who studied abroad in the fall and returned to campus in the spring.
“A difference of 65 is a big difference,” Koerting said in the article. “This has made this spring’s [housing] situation especially tight.”
The Argus also sat down with Lena Capece ’16, who was placed in one of the graduate student apartments at 256 Washington Street. To accommodate the returning juniors, ResLife adapted the complexes on Washington Street and repurposed the empty rooms.
“My first reactions to my housing situation were not good ones,” Capece said in the article. “My first thought was that as a junior I should not be living in a double. My second was that Washington could not be farther from my classes, which are all in Exley.”
While Capece and her roommate Nikki LeFlore ’16 expressed their disappointment about the location’s inconvenience, they agreed their assignment was preferable to the single and double dorm rooms that typically house underclassmen. Another subject of King and Cereijido-Bloche’s article, Atiya Walcott ’16, was assigned to Butterfield A despite not listing the dorm on her housing preference form.
“At first I was upset and wanted to cry,” Walcott said in the article. “But I didn’t! I realized that I could spend time at my friend’s apartment. More importantly, I keep reminding myself that it’s only a semester.”
Additionally, in an effort to appease the returning juniors in 2015, ResLife offered students the opportunity to pursue off-campus housing options.
“When [returning juniors] were disappointed or upset with their assignment, I mentioned to them that they were welcome to look into off-campus options,” Koerting said. “We made this exception because we were clearly not providing the accommodations that we wanted to provide.”
While the housing options may have not been ideal or expected for the returning students, the juniors found creative workarounds—visiting friends in apartments or looking into off-campus housing—to optimize their spring semester housing experience. Walcott and Capece’s testimonies may serve as important reminders for us to stay optimistic and attempt to make the most of our potentially unprecedented or unfortunate housing situations.
For our current rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes, on Thursday, April 27, GRS group ranks will run and be released for all students with three points or higher. The point system is based on the number of semesters a student has completed at Wesleyan: three points would stipulate that a student has completed five or more semesters at the University. The group ranking process will continue, prioritizing students with more points, until all students select their housing assignment. GRS is then completed on Monday, May 15 when bedroom selection for wood-frame houses and apartments ends.
In stark contrast to the 2015 situation, room selection for the 2012-2013 school year welcomed an increase in housing options, leaving rising sophomores with a new slew of possibilities. In a 2012 article entitled “Rising Sophomores Make the Most out of Increased Housing Options” by then-Contributing Writer Miranda Katz ’15, The Argus detailed new additions to GRS with a second round of program housing applications and Copenhagens in the Butterfields open to rising sophomores.
While bids for program housing were presented prior to GRS, many houses had space for more students and proposed a second round of applications from March 20 to April 6. Students who were interested in this round were asked to fill out an application and were offered rooms on a rolling basis. The Bayit, a community-based house that works to promote interest in Jewish traditions, culture, and practices, had eight remaining spaces. The Argus spoke with Gideon Levy ’13, the House Manager of The Bayit.
“We did fill the remaining spaces during the open bid process,” Levy said in the article. “There was a lot of interest for that; we actually had to turn down a few people.”
The University also expanded housing options available to rising sophomores with Copenhagens and six-person clusters in the Butterfields: 12 groups of six sophomores opted to live in either a Copenhagen or a six-person cluster. Copenhagens, a familiar housing concept to our current students, were marketed as six-person living options in the corners of the Butterfields. Conversely, six-person clusters occupied the middles of the hallways. The Argus sat down with Jasmine Masand ’15, who elected to live in a Copenhagen; Masand advocated for the Copenhagens’ simpler housing selection process.
“It makes room selection a lot simpler in terms of avoiding GRS and crazy room selection nights,” Masand said in the article. “Groups who applied for [Copenhagens] had their own numbering system with priority according to those with point boosts, so it works just like a more specific GRS.”
Students who chose to live in larger groups found Copenhagens and six-person clusters to be advantageous. Another subject of Katz’s article, Henry Sikes ’15, successfully applied for a six-person cluster.
“My current (and now future) hall mates and I have grown really close this year, and we just figured we’d rather stick together in The Butts than get randomly spread out over campus,” Sikes said in the article. “To a certain extent, we wanted to stay in the Butts to be around both sophomores and freshmen.”
To my fellow rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors, I wish you nothing but good luck in the weeks to come. I hope these accounts serve as a reassuring reminder that GRS, while perhaps daunting, can be successfully conquered.
Lyah Muktavaram can be reached at email@example.com.
“From the Argives” is a column that explores The Argus’ archives (Argives) and any interesting, topical, poignant, or comical stories that have been published in the past. Given The Argus’ long history on campus and the ever-shifting viewpoints of its student body, the material, subject matter, and perspectives expressed in the archived article may be insensitive or outdated, and do not reflect the views of any current member of The Argus. If you have any questions about the original article or its publication, please contact Head Archivist Sam Hilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.