For returning Mt. A students, the night of the room draw is a long one, from trying to connect to finicky Wi-Fi, remembering your student password, and figuring out which room in your residence is the nicest, this marathon can be tiring and stressful. Students are paying thousands of dollars for the room they choose, plus an expensive deposit. Coupled with additional fees, such as the meal plan, residence is incredibly expensive. Hence, many Mt. A students are frustrated that they are faced with so many obstacles within room draw, either for their current residence, or trying to get into another residence on campus.
With the proposed reopening of Harper Hall in September 2024, returning students have a chance to be one of the new residents in Harper. However, the return of Harper Hall meant that many double rooms this year were being turned back into single rooms. Hannah Stilwell, a first-year music student trying to return to residence for 2024–2025, faced an issue with the room-occupancy changes, saying that the change of double rooms to single rooms in Campbell Hall was not reflected in the residence portal when she was trying to select a single room. Stilwell chose one of the bugged rooms herself, explaining that now, “two people have been assigned to the room and there has been no confirmation if I have it or not.”
Yet, it was not just double-booking that students struggled with. Many people were unable to access the portal when the residence draw opened. The website was completely offline due to the amount of traffic, and when the website was finally running for some, most room options were gone, with the north side of campus being filled first. Some people, like first-year student Shae Wakabayshi,, tried for hours to log on to the residence portal. “For the general draw, I was on at 11:55 p.m., waiting for the portal to open [at midnight], but it crashed immediately,” says Wakabayshi, “I didn’t even get into the actual application before the server stopped responding. I kept trying to refresh it every so often until about 2:30 a.m., before I gave up.”
Furthermore, some felt that there was a lack of information surrounding the room-draw process. Wakabayashi noted that there was no information given to students prior to the draw on what to do if they were unable to get a room. In relation, Stilwell explained that when she contacted Res-Life about their concerns with room draw, she “was only told that they hadn’t changed the system and that there is nothing they can do now [except] to wait.” Stilwell, like many affected students, was distressed when their questions of whether they had a room were answered, “that [Res-Life] could not confirm anything.” Only when Stilwell contacted the Meighan Centre was she only able to be confirmed to eventually get a single room.
Although there was a waitlist set up for students, Wakabayashi said that “the whole experience was so much more stressful than it needed to be, due to a lack of clarity and the lack of any sort of support system.” Waitlists are not guaranteed housing. Currently, students like Wakabayashi do not have rooms for next year, and others like Stilwell, technically do, although it is not guaranteed. Now, many students are hanging on to waitlists, in limbo if they will receive a room.