Upgrades for residential life software: choose your room, choose your roommate


Mariah Howland

The throes of passion

Northern Vermont University has recently updated its software allowing students to choose rooms and roommates.

According to the Director of Residential Life Jeff Bickford, the updated software is intended to make it easier to collect data when assigning a room to a student, as well as make it easier on the student. “I think it’s going to be a much better experience for the user,” Bickford said.

The form used to be assigned to a room is now on the portal, and although it won’t be much different from last year, new features are soon to come. And to the students’ benefit, the link will include all public residential life forms.

Among the new features is “roomies,” which has not been activated yet but will be available in the future. The idea is to enable students to sign up and pick their roommate online.

Once they select their roommate, a 15-minute slot will be assigned to meet with the director of residential life to confirm the living situation. For those who cannot attend a meeting, a note will suffice.
The new software will also be offering a pilot for pet-friendly housing, which will be confined to one wing in Senators South only.

Bickford noted that the pet-friendly housing policy will be completely different from those who apply for an emotional support animal (ESA). “The pet policy does have a lot of restrictions,” says Bickford. For example, no two different animals will be assigned to a room. “A cat in a room with two caged mice just wouldn’t be an ideal sit situation,” he said.

Because this is only a pilot, Bickford said there is no way to tell at this point how many people will be allowed to have pets on campus.

Applying to get a pet on campus will not be as easy as filling out a form. “There is a whole application process for it. As people start applying to pet-friendly housing, we will be having a screening process,” says Bickford, who noted restrictions will be based on size and breed of the pets in question.

“I know this is not a popular decision. But if an animal is bred to have certain characteristics where it is more likely to be aggressive in close quarters like a residence hall, let’s minimize that risk,” he said.