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Students applying to live on campus for the 2012-13 academic year will be going through a revamped housing application process.

Under a new online platform — “My Home at Penn” — Community Living will be eliminated, with students now applying in groups of one to four with a designated “team captain.” The application process for residential programs, as well as the College House point system, has also been changed.

The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down for a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Department of Residential Services and College Houses and Academic Services to talk about these changes.

Daily Pennsylvanian: If I’m a student applying for on-campus housing, what’s the first thing I should know right now?

Lenny Zeiger, Associate Director for Housing Assignments, Residential Services: The first thing is deciding which process you want to apply for because there are three different processes. When students have to have their applications in by is different for each of the processes.

Sue Smith, Associate Director for Communications, CHAS: The deadline for residential programs comes first.

LZ: The next process is in-house, which is for students looking to stay in the same location they are [currently] at. They get preference over somebody coming from a different location.

The last process is inter-house, and that’s for somebody looking to relocate. The first decision is which process you want to apply to. The second decision is figuring out whether or not you want to live with other people. Those are the two main things you want to decide before filling out an application.

DP: How does the point system for in-house assignments work?

Ryan Keytack, House Dean, Rodin College House: First, there’s the three low rises: DuBois, Stouffer and Gregory [College] House. Those three houses will actually be considered residential programs so their entire process runs through the residential program applications. Then you look at the three high rises, which have a point system that recognizes two pieces: seniority in the house … [as well as] involvement in the house. So that’s where students generate points in the high rises.

DP: Which parts of the housing application process are new this year?

SS: The low rises being considered as residential programs during the application process is new.

RK: The other changes would be that Rodin now has a point system. [Prior to this year], it was the only house that did not. Part of that is done because we’re trying to create a more specific and [equitable] process for students.

Barbara Lea-Kruger, Director of Communications and External Relations, Business Services: I think that’s the theme. We’re trying to make it easier and clearer and more transparent for students all across the board.

LZ: The 50/50 is also new. There is the ability for those who want to live in a different house to be brought in through the in-house process through what is called the 50-percent rule. For each person in a group that is applying in-house, they can bring one person with them.

The fact that the whole process is online [through My Home At Penn] is also new.

DP: What can students now do online?

LZ: From my understanding, students were able to apply online before but not actually pick their rooms online. And that’s really the big difference maker.

The captains will go to My Home At Penn to select their rooms. There’s going to be an additional website where the students can actually view real-time updates of where they are in the process, how many rooms are ahead of them and what rooms are left.

RK: A big change this year is that there’s no longer a fourth application process, which was Community Living. Community Living as a fourth option goes away because now students can look and see in real time what’s available and they have the ability and power themselves to create these informal pockets.

DP: What changes have there been regarding new residential programs? What sorts of programs have been proposed?

SS: We’re still in the process. I think there were six proposed programs. They were all excellent and the committee is still working on it. I could spare to say we were very impressed. Students did a great job: they were very thoughtful, and we have started interviewing some of the proposers, but I don’t think we have finished yet. Whatever program or programs are selected, they will be in the batch that students can start applying for right away for next year.

I think we’ll have some pretty exciting news about the developments, and I think people will be pretty happy with it.

DP: What are you most excited about seeing in effect? How flexible will you be if things aren’t so popular with students?

LZ: For me, one of the things that’s exciting is the increased transparency. Students are really having more involvement in the selection process; they’re empowered and put in control of their own future.

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