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Winter housing has fewer students still unassigned this year

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This year’s housing shuffle as students return from abroad and others vacate for winter quarter is proceeding more smoothly than last year, with fewer students who have guaranteed housing still waiting to be assigned a spot for winter quarter.

Students coming back from studying abroad are often placed in the Oak Creek appartments. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

Since housing spots are often vacated between the announcement of winter housing in mid-November and the beginning of winter quarter, Student Housing makes ample use of a waiting list to make sure students receive assignments by the first week of the quarter while leaving as few empty beds as possible.

The waiting list this year is “fewer than 50” guaranteed students, according to Rodger Whitney, executive director of Student Housing. This time last year, the number was closer to 75, Whitney said. This year, 360 undergraduates applied for winter quarter housing.

For students still unassigned, three walk-in meetings are held throughout December in which students submit lists of preferences and pick housing as it becomes available.

Whitney said Housing anticipates having all students who are guaranteed housing and willing to live anywhere assigned to housing by the last meeting on Dec. 29; all guaranteed students are required to be assigned by the Friday of the first week of classes.

“In recent years, the winter quarter assignment process has greatly improved,” Whitney wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “By providing space in Oak Creek and Escondido Village, we are able to keep some groups together, which is an option we were unable to offer in the past.”

Housing has kept the same number of spaces in Oak Creek apartments as it did last year, Whitney said. Currently, Oak Creek is fully assigned.

Francisco Maravilla ’12, who is returning from Florence and was assigned to Oak Creek, said he was “fairly satisfied” with his assignment, “aside from the unfortunate distance of Oak Creek from campus.” Maravilla used a third-tier draw this year and said that although Oak Creek wasn’t high on his list, he saw the draw system as effective.

Unassigned students often wait until late December to get assigned housing, but Housing is working on making that process faster by adding more walk-in meetings. Whitney said the number of students requesting housing is closely tied to the number of students studying overseas, and added that Housing chooses not to assign all students right away to leave space for late cancellations.

“If we assigned everyone during the first round of assignments we would need to add additional bed spaces and then would ultimately end up with vacancies in the system,” he said. “Since these additional bed spaces are often placed in common spaces, we prefer to keep the residents housed in student rooms and keep the common spaces available to the whole community.”

Ellen Huet is currently a senior staff writer at The Daily; she joined the staff in fall 2008 and served one volume as managing news editor in fall and early winter of 2010-2011. Reach her at ehuet at stanford dot edu. Fan mail and sternly worded complaints are equally welcome.