[Fresh] Residence Life Interview

Kelly Donio (kelly.donio@villanova.edu)
Tue, 21 Mar 2006 11:49:58 -0500

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

Fresh@News: In a few weeks, the class of 2009 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 students with receive a “Housing
Assignment Booklet” through campus mail. The same booklet will be sent
to Parents’ home addresses. This booklet contains detailed information
regarding the housing lottery process, how to complete and submit the
housing application through NOVASIS, how to accept a housing assignment
– once the assignments are complete and available through NOVASIS and
general information about the housing contract and move-in dates for
upper-classmen. It is very important for students and parents to read
this booklet carefully.

Fresh@News: What if students or parents have questions about the lottery
process?

Ms. Schauder: Students are encouraged to attend an information meeting
sponsored by Residence Life or contact me via email at
marie.schauder@villanova.edu.

Fresh@News: When will students be able to complete and submit the online
housing application.

Ms. Schauder: 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 student’s 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 2009?

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. By sophomore year
students have a better idea of the type of building they wish to live in
and the qualities they are looking for in a roommate. Some students will
recognize that they prefer to reside in a single room vs. having a
roommate. There are more single room options open to sophomores, than
freshmen As juniors, many (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 majority of 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 last week of March. The same information that we provide
in the “Housing Lottery Booklet” will also be available on our website,
in case students should misplace the booklet.

--
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