The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Office of Residence Life Implements New Housing Selection Process With Mixed Student Reaction

Differing opinions arise regarding St. John’s new housing selection process for Fall 2024.
Torch Photo / Isabella Athanasiou

The St. John’s University Office of Residence Life implemented a new housing selection pilot program for the Fall 2024 semester. From April 8-12, undergraduate students underwent the housing selection process. 

The program was previously based on grade point average (GPA) and year. However, the University now randomized the selection order for resident students. 

Students can also select their suitemates through a new suite selection process. Those who opt for suite selection will be placed into varying residences without consideration of their academic standing. 

Throughout the Spring 2024 semester, the Office of Residence Life informed students of the change and offered virtual information sessions to aid the process. 

“There were two major changes to our process this year,” said Sarah Kelly, vice president for Student Success and Retention Strategy in a statement to The Torch. “In the past, continuing students were organized by a formula that considered GPA and credits earned to prioritize selection appointments.” 

The University decided to alter this approach to foster a more inclusive process. 

“We found that this compounded challenges for students whose GPAs may have been impacted by health challenges, family issues, or familial or work obligation,” Kelly continued. Instead, students will undergo a “randomized selection process in which appointment times are assigned to students for selection within their year and gender identity.”

While the initiative aims to “foster equity” through the new process, some students express frustration. 

“I think it’s pretty unfair because my GPA was pretty good,” said freshman Ethan Cruz. “I remember paying and filling the [housing] application on the first day and they gave me [room] options on the last day when everything was gone.” 

Sophomore Shannon Connolly agrees with Cruz’s sentiments.

 “Honestly, it’s been kind of difficult and stressful.”

“At first, I specifically wanted to get into Century [Janetschek] Hall,” Connolly said. Janetshcek Hall, formerly known as Century Hall,  is one of two sophomore buildings on campus. 

“But when I was doing my housing selection, it was only giving me off-campus dorms, like the Henley Complex, and other off-campus options,” Connolly continued. 

Freshman Balian Fagan, who’s now living off-campus due to inflated on-campus housing fees, has friends who are currently using the new program. 

“I’ve only heard from a single group who got relatively early housing appointments.” That group was able to select their room in O’Connor Hall, unlike another group he knows “who have been on top of their stuff, but have been giving [Residence Life] really bad reviews.” 

The second change implemented by the University is the ability for students to choose their suite, rather than being able to choose an individual bedroom space within a suite. 

“This program was launched in response to student feedback seeking the opportunity to live in a suite,” said Kelly. 

“I guess it’s tough luck though,” said Fagan, in response to dissatisfaction with room placements among his friends, “but if you’re on top of your appointments you should be able to get what you want,” he explained. 

While some people have trouble with the new initiative, others like freshman Elisha Adams, believe that “randomizing the process is better because it gives everyone an equal opportunity to get a chance versus somebody with a higher or lower GPA.”

“It’s always our goal to listen to our students’ needs when it comes to the housing that we offer,” said Kelly. “We hope that we are able to find balance between allowing students to fill an entire suite while at the same time meeting the needs of those who seek to fill an independent room.”

A room change process will be launched on May 1, for those who are unhappy with room placement results. To elect for the process, students can sign up through their housing portal for a chance of being offered a different room. 

The Office of Residence Life expects to reoffer rooms between June and July.  Students can also expect a second room change opportunity beginning the first day of classes in the Fall 2o24 semester. To find out more about room change opportunities, students should check the confirmation email they have received after their initial room placement.

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About the Contributors
Malak Kassem
Malak Kassem, News Editor
Malak Kassem is a third-year journalism student serving as the News Editor for the 2024-2025 academic year. She has previously been on the editorial board as Opinion Editor for the Fall 2023 semester. When she's not writing for The Torch, Malak loves going for long walks and baking. Malak can be reached at [email protected].
Isabella Athanasiou
Isabella Athanasiou, Asst. News Editor
Isabella is a sophomore journalism student serving her first year as Assistant News Editor for The Torch. Outside of The Torch, she is a published poet and is working on a poetry collection of her own. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing guitar, listening to music and hanging out with friends. Isabella can be reached at [email protected].
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