Housing implements new online program

Heidi Kronaizl News Editor

Rooming assignments for Fall 2014 will be approached differently this coming semester. Residential Life is currently implementing a new housing assignment program called StarRez, which allows students to pick the precise room and roommate they chose within the housing parameters.  

StarRez is a live program that allows students to see what rooms in the residence halls are available for the upcoming school year. 

“[Previously] you would preference a few halls and we [residential life] would give you an assignment,” said Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life Staff and Community Development Erica Thompson. “This year you’ll get to go in and literally choose the exact room and bed you want to stay in.”

The new program also has a roommate matching process to help accommodate students pick a random roommate. Students can only search for roommates within their status in school. The system will go live in January.

“This is to empower students, to define their space versus our staff to anticipate what you want as a student. We let you tell us,” said Director of Residential Life Jeff Hale. “It’s a contemporary approach to managing student applications and occupancy, “ Hale said.

In December the housing application opened up in MyState and students will confirm that they are staying for the upcoming fall semester. Students that confirmed they are staying at SDSU before Dec. 20 will be in the first round to pick their housing assignments. Times to log onto the system will be assigned randomly. Students that confirmed after Dec. 20 will pick after everyone else and sign up later.

Prior to selecting a room, students that want a specific roommate must fill out a request form. Students will accept whom they would like to live with and when selecting a room, only one of the roommates has to sign up. This process prevents overlap, keeping rooms open and available to other students. The roommate that has the earliest sign up time can sign up themselves and their roommate.

During live roommate selection, StarRez can handle 120 students at a time. Because the system is live, it constantly updates itself to keep an accurate account of what rooms are available.

With the previous housing system it would crash, most commonly when freshmen sign-up would begin. With StarRez, if more than 120 students are on the site at one time, it puts those that are trying to log in on hold rather than freezing up.

The process of implementing StarRez was one that had been coming. Residential Life Staff had been planning on using a new room assignment system.

“The university has considered options along with the entire state system for several years and at least one other school [the University of South Dakota], has launched the same package, so we’re the next ones in line,” Hale said. “This is an international company … hundreds of students are using this.”

Housing that will be available to students will be based upon what year those graduated from high school. This way sophomores and first year students will not be competing for spots. There will be some varying changes in what will be specified as first-year and sophomore housing.

“There will be some [hall] changes and we are actually looking at some of that,” Hale said.

Changes in housing will be determined during the spring semester.