Block housing gives some unfair advantages

In response to student demand, Housing and Dining Services will now offer block housing in Morewood Gardens for students choosing to live with a group of six to 12 friends or peers.

Housing and Dining Services’ choice to offer block housing in Morewood Gardens provides students looking to remain with their friends an option in a central location on campus, but the process must be altered in future years to accommodate students choosing to participate in general housing selection.

The option for block housing in Morewood Gardens is a welcome addition in a move to offer students a wider variety of choice during the housing selection process.

The Tartan also appreciates that Housing and Dining Services took student demand into account when making the decision to offer block housing in a dorm-style location. Previously, students could only choose block housing in Webster, Fairfax, Neville, Shady Oak, and Shirley Apartments, which are all off-campus and apartment-style.

As Housing and Dining Services revisits block housing for the 2015-16 room selection process. However, the process should be altered further to take into account the incentives that offering block housing in a wider range of locations could create.

Currently, students could choose block housing because they receive priority for room selection over those participating in general room selection. While the option of block housing benefits students who are able to find a group of friends to form a block with, the system could be detrimental to students who are unable to do so.

Block housing has the potential to force students who choose to live with a random roommate or roommates into rooms left over after block housing selection. Offering block housing in a dorm known as a central building for upperclassmen could severely limit the choices of upperclassmen to obtain the housing they want as they compete with student blocks.

As Housing and Dining Services continues to improve the room selection process, they should consider altering the time at which students choose block housing, so that those participating in general room selection can compete.

For example, for next year, blocks could choose a number in the general housing selection process or they could be limited to certain floors of dorm-style locations to provide other students the opportunity to obtain their preferred housing. Otherwise, these students have much fewer options to choose from in room selection.