[Fresh] Residence Life Interview

Kelly Donio (kelly.donio@villanova.edu)
Wed, 02 Feb 2005 10:03:15 -0500

Interview with Marie Schauder, Assistant Director, Office of
Residence Life

Fresh@News: In a few weeks, the class of 2008 will begin
selecting their rooms and roommates for next year. Are the
students thinking about this already?

Ms. Schauder: This process has been on the minds of the
freshmen class for months. Who to live with is a big
decision for a college student, and this topic is all over
the residence halls right now.

Fresh@News: So how does the process work?

Ms. Schauder: The first step is for the students to find a
roommate for next year. Sometimes they stay with their
current roommate or they find someone else with whom they
feel they may be more compatible.

Fresh@News: What kind of issues come up at this stage of
the game?

Ms. Schauder: Mostly it works out, but there are some
painful moments too. Sometimes one half of a roommate team
wants to stay together, and the other wants to live with
someone else. There can be hurt feelings and awkwardness.

Fresh@News: Any thoughts or suggestions to pass along as
far as finding a roommate?

Ms. Schauder: Usually the students start by looking at the
students who live on their hall. This is a good strategy,
but often it makes just as much sense to look for
connections in their classes. One of the big conflicts that
comes up between roommates has to do with study habits, so
finding someone who approaches academic work in a similar
fashion is often a good way to find a roommate.

Fresh@News: Suppose the student just can't find a roommate?

Ms. Schauder: That happens all of the time, for a variety
of reasons. Usually about 25% of the class does not pick a
roommate at all. They just go into the process by
themselves and we assign them a roommate (as we did for this
year). Of course, they will meet that roommate this
spring and have an opportunity to get to know the person.
Often enough the groups who get put together by us work out
really well and stay together in the future.

Fresh@News: What happens next?

Ms. Schauder: The next step is that the students will be
notified via email that the lottery preference form is
available through NOVASIS. This is an online housing
application form. This form will include the studentís
lottery number. Students fill out the form indicating what
buildings they desire to live in and with whom they want to
live. We run a report which lists the students who
submitted their preference forms in lottery number order
with their housing and roommate preferences, and then try to
fill their requests as best we can. As you can imagine,
sometimes people try to find ways to beat the system, but
since we have been doing this for awhile we've found ways to
prevent most of the abuses. In addition to the lottery
preference form, students and parents will receive a housing
lottery and assignment brochure after Spring Break, which
explains the lottery and assignment processes.

Fresh@News: So what are the most popular residence halls
for the class of 2008?

Ms. Schauder: As in any real-estate operation, the three
most important factors are, "Location, location, and
location." A lot of first year students want to live next
year in the "Quad." These two buildings, Sullivan and
Sheehan, are on our main campus and house 800 sophomore
students (about half of the class). Actually the rooms in
these buildings are not as nice as some of our other
housing, but sophomores really enjoy being in the center of
things. If they have a class in Bartley they can literally
"roll out of bed" to go to class. Since so many sophomores
live in these halls, a lot of students enjoy the social
opportunities. Another popular hall is Good Counsel,
which is on South Campus. I think the attraction there is
the air conditioning and spacious rooms.

Fresh@News: How will the sophomore living experience be
different from what the class has experienced this year?

Ms. Schauder: We think of our residence life program as an
educational experience in itself, and each year students
learn new skills. As first year students their roommates
were assigned to them, and the majority of students live in
single-gender halls. (We do have some mixed gender housing
for first year students in our "Learning community"
programs). By sophomore year all students live in mixed
residence halls, and most, we feel, have become mature
enough to handle it. These buildings will usually have
alternate floors or wings with men on one floor and women on
another. It is a much more realistic living arrangement and
the students seem to enjoy it. As juniors, most (but not
all) of our students will move to our on-campus apartments,
where they will be involved in a still more independent form
of living. Since the apartments have fully equipped
kitchens, the students really live more as they would in an
apartment in the community. Finally as seniors, most of our
students will actually move into apartments in the
community, and learn how to deal with landlords, leases, and
all of the responsibilities that come with fully independent
living. The goal is to gradually expose our students to
greater freedom, independence, and responsibility, while
still providing support at each stage of the process.

Fresh@News: What advice do you have for parents?

Ms. Schauder: Housing is an issue that has a big emotional
charge for students, and a wide range of feelings can be
evoked. The first point to make is that students sometimes
need to be encouraged to get accurate information before
they fly off the handle. Sometimes the things they are
upset about can actually be fixed, so they need to be
encouraged to talk to someone before they get too upset.
Often enough they will talk to their parents before they
have really found out exactly what is going on, then the
parents pick up the concern of the students. The first
line of defense is to have the student try to sort out the
problem with someone here. If that doesn't seem to be
working, we also encourage parents to call us at any time.
Of course usually everything happens at once in our office,
so please understand that we may not be able to answer your
question immediately. Please be patient, usually it all
gets sorted out. Parents can also look at our website at
www.reslife.villanova.edu, which has a lot of information
about housing at Villanova. All of the housing information
will be posted on the website by the second week of March.
This allows parents to view the information that we send to
the students.

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