Archive for June, 2010

First Year Assignments will be posted at 5pm on Friday, July 2nd

You can look up your assignment online after 5pm on Friday, July 2nd.  To view your assignment, go to the Housing Division web page (www.virginia.edu/housing) and click on the spot that says “First Year Undergrad” and then “View My Assignment” – hopefully it’s just that simple…

Once you get your assignment, relax and don’t get excited if it’s not what you were hoping for.  The typical pattern of behavior that we see each year is that our phones will start ringing on the following Monday with people who think that they need to fix their assignment. In a few days, after people have had some contact with their new roommate, then their concerns about other things go away and everything is fine…  the location no longer matters.  Sometimes people are also concerned because the roommate is “different” from them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.  The University’s goal for the first year is that you learn to live with someone who is different.  Please don’t be scared by that – welcome it and look forward to what you will learn.  Please read my earlier postings about roommate relationships…

In making first year student assignments, we do fill all of the spaces that we have set aside for the first year class.  We do not have a great deal of flexibility.  We want you to work with your new roommate.  If, after the year starts, it turns out that there is something that makes you incompatible, it is possible for you to change rooms when space becomes available.  We do not change people based on personal prejudices or perceptions of what a roommate might be like.

We also get many calls from parents who want to fix things or take care of things for their sons or daughters.  In most cases, we want to hear from the student, not the parent.  We want to know that the issue, whatever it is, is truly the student’s concern, since they are the ones that are living here with us.  We don’t make changes just on the parents telling us that the son or daughter wants something.

I hope that you are excited about the prospect of getting to know new people and making friends.  The normal pattern is that once you move in and make some friends, wherever you have been assigned becomes the “best” place for you to live.

Take care,

John

Transfer Student Housing Offers

The initial set of offers was sent out to new Transfer Students yesterday, June 10th.  215 students were offered space, 110 students remain on the waiting list.  If you were sent an offer, we hope that you are relieved and will accept it so that you can relax and know where you will be living next year.  If you are on the waiting list, please don’t be alarmed.  We are normally able to offer space to everyone who applies.  I am completely confident that that will be the case this year since we have more vacant space than we have had in several years.  If you are a male, I suggest that you take another look at applying to live in Hereford College.  There are vacant male spaces there that we can immediately put you in if you will complete the online Hereford Application.  If you are uncomfortable about being on the waiting list, or you do not want to accept the space that you have been offered, this is a good time to look at the online services where other students may be advertising that they are looking for someone to take over their contracts.  Over the past 3 years, approximately 100 transfer students have used that route each year.  Often that can get you into a prime area or a single room.  www.hoohasit.com is the primary site that I hear about from students.  www.onthegrounds.com is another site.

Students have one week to accept the offers.  After that we will make another set of offers for the spaces that were not accepted and for any new vacancies that we have become aware of since the last offers were made.

There is enough space on Grounds for everyone who wants it.

Taking over the Contract of Another Student

One strategy that is available for upperclass students and that Transfer students in particular have made good use of in the past is that the University allows students who want to be released from their housing contracts, to advertise that wish and transfer the contract to another student who does not already have a housing contract.  This is a way that you can create a space for yourself in a prime area, where the Housing Division does not have any vacancies.  Students looking for someone to take over their contract typically advertise on the following web sites:  www. hoohasit.com, www.onthegrounds.com and http://uvastudentcouncil.com/offgrounds.

First Year Roommate Matching

We have received several calls this week from parents who have expressed the general concern that they want to be assured that their son or daughter will be assigned to live with someone who is “just like them”.  The categories of “just like me” covers whatever area the parent is concerned about.

We certainly understand the concerns that both students and parents have and the importance of having a good first year experience.  The purpose however of having all first year students live together and of having a random assignment process, is to try to make sure that for this one year, students learn to live with someone who is different than they are.  The limited number of matching criteria utilized in the program, by design, only cover basic lifestyle areas.  As a State institution, we do not and cannot collect information about religious backgrounds.  We also, intentionally don’t segregate students by any criteria.  The intent of the First Year Program is to give all students as diverse an experience/ exposure as possible.

If you feel that there are essential limits to your comfort zone that require that you have a roommate that has similar values on whatever issue that might be, I recommend that you look at the facebook groups that are likely to have been created by the members of the first year class.   Post what you are looking for and/or look at what other students have posted.  As long as you mutually request each other by the application deadline (June 4th), you will be put together.

I do hope that you will not worry so much about all the things that you cannot control.  You and your roommate are going to have to work on developing expectations for living with each other, no matter what your differences or similarities are.  It’s great if you and your roommate become best friends for life, but it’s also not something that always works that way, even with your best friend from home.  You will meet as many new friends as you want to once you arrive and move in.  Please be open to that and to meeting and making friends with people who are from different backgrounds and cultures.

Consider Copeley Apartments

As you look at the different Housing Facilities that are a part of UVa’s On Grounds housing, please take a closer look at the Copeley Apartments.  There are 2 sets of Copeley apartments – one is a part of family housing, the other is for single students and has space for both undergraduate and graduate students.  A fair number of the spaces that we currently have vacant are in Copeley.  Why?  It has more to do with the location and students’ perception of that location than anything else.  Location is a very big priority for the student body here.  The closer any and everything is to the center of grounds the better.  Unfortunately for Copeley, it’s on North Grounds, across from the Law School.  It’s also across the street from the North Grounds recreation center, just up the street from the Barracks Road Shopping Center and many restaurants, close to many athletic fields and the John Paul Jones Arena.   The same bus service that goes to all on Grounds facilities goes to Copeley and it is just around the corner from the Faulkner apartments, which are very popular.  2nd on the list of upperclass student priorities is single rooms.  (Faulkner is also all single rooms, Copeley is all double rooms (4 people per apartment)).

As a new transfer student, living on Grounds is a good way to get connected to the University and to give yourself sometime to make friends and get involved in a community.  Unfortunately, the number of vacancies in areas that students are most excited about is small.  At this point, there are very few vacant spaces in Bice, Lambeth or some of the other areas.  The apartments in Copeley are fairly large, they have good parking and the location has advantages and is near many things that can make your life here enjoyable.  The 1 mile distance to the center of grounds is the one thing that is sort of a fact of life.  With regular bus service however, it doesn’t take much longer to get back and forth to class than it does for many other students who also choose to use the bus as their primary means of transportation.  Most students make one trip a day to the center of grounds and then return home when they have finished classes and activities.  As a new student, having a roommate and being in an apartment with 3 other people is a good thing.  It always helps to go through transitions and experiences like coming to a new University, with others.  We hope that you will give Copeley a chance.  Where ever you live, the community is new each year and will become what you make it.  Help make Copeley the kind of community you want it to be….