Housing to launch interactive website
University housing is a world of its own — it’s not like a hotel, an apartment or your home. Heidi Herchelroath, housing manager, is making changes to help students understand how the housing process works so that future housing selections will run more smoothly than last semester.
Since only about 700 students attended the mandatory housing selection meetings last semester, Herchelroath plans to create a website explaining how Biola housing works. The site will reach a greater population and quell preconceived notions about the housing process.
Set to launch in November, the online user guide will be a Prezi presentation. Prezi is similar to a PowerPoint presentation but is interactive and has more intricate graphics, according to Herchelroath.
Herchelroath will also create a timeline of housing steps so that students and housing will be on the same page.
With the change from paper to online housing applications implemented last year, housing will continue making updates to the system and will find more time to tend to the housing selection process.
Finding space for students
There are 1,213 rooms on campus, Herchelroath said, while statistics from Laura Springer, institutional research analyst, show that there are over 6,000 total students — over 200 more than last semester. As enrollment numbers increase, housing must constantly confront the limited space.
Junior Ruth Santana had friends whose lottery time landed on the second day of the housing selection process and found that there were no more dorms. As a result, they were placed on a wait list.
“[My friends were] constantly talking to housing and half-way through summer they got a place in Stewart,” Santana said.
71 men and 107 women chose to go on the wait list last semester because of the lack of space.
Over the summer, 43 men and 72 women were taken off of the wait list and placed in on-campus housing. The other 63 students opted to cancel.
“Every single student [on the wait list] was offered a place on campus by July and we had enough space for students who canceled as well,” Herchelroath said.
There seemed to be no space available at the beginning of the fall semester, but the unexpectedly large amount of students who have chosen not to live on campus, or not to come to Biola at all, has created empty rooms and openings on campus.
“We have had actually quite a few cancellations in the last month, more than ever expected so we have quite a few spaces open for women, and several for men right now,” Herchelroath said.
Trying to do what’s best for students
Herchelroath doesn’t know yet whether students will be repositioned to fill the single and empty rooms later on in the year when the number of on-campus students is finalized.
“Room changes on campus are really involved for both housing and students and can be very stressful,” Herchelroath said.
Moving students around is even more complicated now because of the new rule that doubles and triples must maintain the same number of occupants.
This rule enforcement is due to health code, fire code, impact on floor and building and to ensure students can rely on their current room rate when they’re budgeting for school.
She has observed that room changing creates a domino effect — one switch causes another and results in a messy, stressful situation for those involved.
“We are just trying to figure out what is going to feel best for our students,” Herchelroath said.