Students frustrated with overwhelmed University Housing, Dining system

Sheryl‌ ‌Lawrence‌ ‌, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the June 28 flipbook.

The University Housing and Dining room selection system for fall 2021 was overwhelmed by the number of students attempting to choose their rooms from June 8-19, causing students to be unable to see available rooms on their housing portal. Some students said they feel the system is confusing and tedious.

In 2019 and 2021, UHD fulfilled roughly 7,200 housing requests, said Justin Jaskowiak, UHD director of apartments, occupancy and conferences. A few years ago, students were not given the opportunity to choose their room. Students would put in their preferences and housing staff would assign them to a room. Jaskowiak said the increased participation in the room selection program overwhelmed the system, which reaches maximum capacity at 7,300 contracts.

Undeclared freshman Alan Tran said he and his roommate were split up after not being able to pick a room during room selection. Tran is in Jester West while his roommate is in Jester East, and they will have to move in order to be roommates again.

However, to move rooms, one person has to leave their current room before being reassigned, which leaves the opportunity for someone outside of the pair to claim the empty space.

“It makes me anxious because what happens when we are both in compliance with (one of our random roommates) leaving, … but someone ends up going in from the outside, sees an open Jester East room … (and) they end up taking that Jester East room away from anybody that tries to go in,” Tran said.

Jaskowiak said students who applied early for housing had the opportunity to choose their rooms before they were randomly assigned.

“It revealed that our system is very reliant on manual work, so we have to manually add to the pool of available rooms each time,” Jaskowiak said.

Mechanical engineering freshman William Kneip said he was assigned to supplemental housing on campus and plans to stay there because of the discount.

Kneip said he had to refresh the housing portal throughout the day to make his room selection.

When students emailed UHD, they received an automatic response saying UHD was experiencing a high volume of questions and that they would respond as quickly as possible. Jaskowiak said the staff members who respond to emails and phone calls are the same staff members who work on opening rooms in the housing portal.