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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

Cost of singles affects rooming

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 23, 2004

This year, St. Olaf students experienced a few changes in room draw stemming from the increased cost of single rooms and changes in residence hall preference. As a result, some pods in Ytterboe remained open or became available to non-seniors.

"There has always been a high demand [for singles]," Pamela McDowell, Director of Residence Life, said. "Now there is just enough of a demand."

Of the 18 pods available to women in Ytterboe, 17 went to senior students. The last pod was given to a mixed group of nine seniors and juniors. Normally, pods are designed for predetermined groups of 10 people, which is the easiest and most convenient option to fill the space. However, there were no more groups of 10 students available, so the remaining pod was given to the group of 9. Later, a friend was added.

"It pays to show up," McDowell said.

The 15 men's pods in Ytterboe were similarly divided - - not every pod was automatically filled by seniors. Twelve of the pods were taken by seniors, one was filled by seven seniors and three juniors, and two pods were not filled. As a result, the singles in the pod were put into singles for anyone and the doubles were put into general double room draw on Tuesday night.

"I'm sure it had something to do with the price," McDowell said. She went on to say that in past years, men wanting to live in Ytterboe have not been as numerous as women. As a result, male pods do not fill up as quickly as womens pods.

In addition to changes in pods from Ytterboe, McDowell said that the increased price of singles caused a greater number of rooms to remain available and resulted in juniors and one sophomore obtaining the single rooms.

She added that the sophomore who received the single was so excited that she hugged McDowell.

McDowell acknowledges that the price increase had an effect on room draw.

"From my end, I don't think it changed a lot," she said. "From the students' end, it did. A lot more thought was put into (creating pods and picking rooms). Students really evaluated if a single was a luxury or a necessity."

Currently, all of the 120 non-resident assistant singles have been filled. McDowell said that people continue to call about them, but the waiting list is not as long as before.

Another change in room draw indicated that fewer people will be living off campus than in the past two years. McDowell said that 136 people will be living off-campus next year, as compared to 161 living off-campus this year, and 193 students who lived off-campus the year before. She cites expensive rent and the city paying more attention to housing capacity as reasons for the decrease.

However, a larger number of students - - about 20 more than last year - - who will study abroad next year will counterbalance the decreased number of students living off campus.

"It was a nice little surprise," said McDowell.

In addition, the larger class of 2006 will balance out the smaller class of 2007, which contains 20 fewer students.

However, over 90 people are currently on waiting lists, in hopes of getting a room that they like more. McDowell urges students to have some perspective about the room draw process.

"It's more important to pick a good roommate," she said. "None of the buildings really live up to the bad reputation they have."

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