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Housing Office Web Site Allows Students to Sign Up For Rooms Online

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 29, 2009

Housing Office Web site Allows Students to Sign Up For Rooms Online

The difference between the way current students chose their dorm rooms for next year and how they did it a year ago all comes down to paper.

As in the elimination of.

This year, students were able to do everything online – view floor plans and room availability, form roommate groups, and select their specific room for next year. Groups could also make their selection together and alter their plans if they didn’t get what they asked for.

For example, if six students applied for a suite on the first day of the sign-up process and didn’t get it, they could disband their group and go back the second day and apply for a quad or built-up triple; a double or even a single.

The new online option—almost a year in the making—was tested and then used during the housing sign-up process on April 15 and 16. Students were assigned dates and times to make their room requests. Staff members were available at the Housing Office both days until 9 p.m. to answer questions in person, on the phone or via Housing’s the online chat function.

“The first day was pretty quiet. The second day we had more than 1,000 students using the system,” says Amy Whitney, assistant director of housing. “About 220 people signed up for suites, quads and built-up triples on the first day.”

Getting the system up and running was a massive undertaking, Whitney says, because so many scenarios had to be considered. The online system was designed and built in-house by UNH’s Research Computing Center.

“On paper you can deal with the unique and individual situations that come up. We had to figure out how to incorporate all of those into an online system,” she says.

This year, the new procedure was used just for current students who live in dorms. The hope is that next year, signups for the Gables and Woodside apartments will also be able to be done online.

Although the process took about as long as when students chose housing in person, Whitney says the online capability will result in a much tighter timeline in the future. Individual students going into double rooms on their own will also know who their roommates are sooner.

“We’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback,” Whitney says. “People liked being able to sit at their computers instead of having to walk over to the Whit. This fits more with how our students do things today.”

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