When incoming freshman Jake Kouba first heard about Residents’ Online Access to Rooms, he said two thoughts went through his mind – he was excited about being able to select his own room and was impressed MU was smart enough to give students the ability to choose where they want to live.
“The three rooms I had in mind were completely booked,” he said. “I waited and continued to log in that night, until finally at the end of the night all that was available was in Mark Twain Hall.”
Director Frankie Minor said with enrollment reaching an all-time high, the Department of Residential Life is working to accommodate every student who wishes to live on campus next fall.
“We’ve always had sufficient capacity for both incoming freshmen and all the returning students, but in the last few years it’s been much more challenging,” Minor said.
Since 2007, undergraduate enrollment has increased by 22 percent, prompting MU to expand and renovate housing to accommodate the growing number of students living on campus.
“Mizzou has grown due to high demand,” Enrollment Management Vice Provost Ann Korschgen said. “We anticipate that there will be 6,122 first-time college students on campus by the fourth week of the semester.”
According to Residential Life, prior to the start of the 2010 fall semester, 80 percent of students were able to find rooms by May, and every incoming freshman had a room by the first day of school. Despite early technical issues with the program, so far this year 4,887 freshmen have been able to find a room.
“There were some database issues (in ROAR) with the business rules that had been set up, and they slowed down the system for making the database calls,” Division of Information Technology Director Terry Robb said. “(ROAR) was slammed so hard that we had to expand the number of CPU’s in the control servers to accommodate the activity on the server.”
Incoming freshman Elise Moser was unable to find a room until two weeks after ROAR started. Moser said she feels though the Department of Residential Life is trying to help students, the process is complicated as a whole.
“I like the concept that I get to pick my own room, but in reality you really don’t get the room you want,” Moser said. “Last year I watched (high school) seniors getting ready for ROAR and being really stressed, this year was no different.”
ROAR is in its fourth year as an MU program and has replaced typical housing contracts as a way to assign students a living space. Among new students, there is still debate about the helpfulness of the program.
“The fact that I didn’t get the room that I wanted, even after being on top of all the deadlines has influenced me in considering to live off campus,” Kouba said. “Now that I don’t have my ideal room, I’m considering joining a fraternity right away.”
Minor acknowledges the program does have its faults, but said it is an improvement over past years.
“From talking with people who have experienced the system under the old format, and those under the new format, primarily the parents we’ve talked to, they tend to prefer the new one,” Minor said. “It doesn’t eliminate the challenges of balancing supply and demand, but it gives much more control to the student to try and chose what they want from what we have available.”