The Office of Residential Living will replace Georgetown University Student Housing with a new software called StarRez as the campus-wide housing management system for the spring semester.
This new system, designed to simplify and condense the housing selection process, will affect all students who plan on living in university housing for the 2016-2017 school year, including incoming freshmen.
The current system, GUSH, was developed by a Georgetown employee several years ago. According to Executive Director for Residential Services Patrick Killilee, the university began looking into third-party systems after it became clear that GUSH was unsustainable.
“Homegrown systems aren’t always desirable because often you can be dependent on the person who created them,” Killilee said. “The platform that he [the creator] built it on was a platform that the university was no longer supporting.”
When the decision to find a third-party system was made, the university invited several different vendors to campus. Ultimately, university administration settled on StarRez, a housing system company that provides services for about 400 colleges and universities.
StarRez’s online housing portal will replace the current Housing-at-a-Glance page in February.
Killilee said that Georgetown chose StarRez primarily for its ability to provide the same services that GUSH did, but in a simpler and more user-friendly fashion.
“It’s very easy to use, very intuitive. We’re looking to provide the same information that we currently do and maybe more,” he said.
In addition to a new user interface, one of the most notable changes will impact the room selection process. In the current system, different types of rooms have different sign up dates spread out across nearly two months. In StarRez, this process will be greatly condensed.
“If we could get the room selection period from six weeks down to two weeks, that would be a big win,” Killilee said.
StarRez will require all students to respond to Living Preference Questions. In the event that students do not self-select their roommates, or if there is an opening in a room, this change will ease the roommate matching process.
According to Assistant Director of Assignments Krista Haxton, this will accompany a Campus Housing Roommate Matching System-type program for upperclassmen.
“We want to be able to do compatibility matches on a stronger scale than we’ve done in the past, since it’s been old [Living Preference Questions] data,” Haxton said.
Students registering as groups will no longer be forced to rely on a group sponsor for the selection process. In the new system, every student will have to access the system and familiarize themselves with its layout. This change will enable the university to more easily collect data from students, such as emergency contact information.
The StarRez portal will include the same information that the Housing-at-a-Glance page currently does, but will also hold a cache of all emails that the Office of Residential Living has sent.
Richie Sekerak (COL ’17) welcomed this change and hoped that students will have an opportunity to work with the new program prior to housing selection.
“It can be a hassle to find those [emails] in your inbox,” Sekerak said. “It would be a good idea in my opinion to have each student get acclimated to the website.”
Phalguni Vetrichelvan (SFS ‘18) said she hoped StarRez would be an improvement.
“I hope this new system is more user friendly and less time consuming,” Vetrichelvan said.
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