The Student Government Association (SGA) held a PATH point event with students, administration and Housing and Residence Life to discuss AVIATE and UD’s housing assignment process on Dec. 2 in KU Ballroom.
The event is part of SGA’s series “Campus Clarity,” which aims to bring “groups of people together to make sense of common questions on campus.”
James Froehlich, director of Housing Operations, and Danielle Page, assistant director of Residence Life – Curriculum & Leadership Development, answered students’ questions. President Eric Spina was in the audience and stayed afterward to respond to further questions.
This is the sixth year of the Points Accumulated Toward Housing (PATH) system. It was developed to be more purposeful than the previous housing assignment system of randomly selected numbers.
As an alum, Froehlich knows how “vital housing is to the UD experience.”
He claims the PATH system gives equal opportunity to students. Unless a group’s aim is to live in a top-tier house, they “don’t need as many points as they think they do. Students get more [points] than they need,” Froehlich said.
Five-person houses are the most popular, and 405 Stonemill is consistently one of the first houses to be assigned every year. Certain houses are competitive and require a high number of PATH points.
So far this year, 280 PATH point events have been held.
“If you don’t have more than 30 [points], you haven’t been taking advantage of all your activities,” according to Page.
Froehlich added that there is no need to acquire more than 30 points, unless aiming for a competitive house.
The most common question is, “How many credits do I need in order to get x?” according to Froehlich.
The number of PATH points needed for a certain house or apartment varies from year to year. Froehlich was hesitant to give an exact number that students should have because it “creates a racing game,” and the unknown factor of who will group together makes it impossible to guess.
Housing assignments for rising sophomores are determined by the average number of PATH points for the group. As of Nov. 28, the average number for first-year students was 7.5 points.
For the Fall 2018 semester, the upper 23 percent of juniors and seniors have 13 or more points. But the overall average for upperclassmen is increased to 20 PATH points due to outliers. 53 percent of upperclassmen have six or fewer points.
A computer program is being developed to find patterns in data gathered from previous years to better predict housing outcomes. This is to be completed by the spring semester and will help students get a better sense of their chance of getting the housing assignment they desire.
Special Interest Housing does not guarantee priority. Blocks, and the Student Neighborhood as a whole, are capped at 40 percent allotment for Special Interest Housing.
A prevalent complaint about the current housing assignment system is that it is not “completely fair because it somewhat rewards people who aren’t super involved and makes it difficult for busy students to get points,” as first-year business major Bridget Mooney stated after the event.
Froehlich pointed out that there are no disadvantages or advantages to any group of people according to the data. There is a linear correlation between GPA and PATH points, however.
Another concern for students was the time commitment of earning PATH points.
“The worst part is how one hour PATH events are being turned into two or three hour events because of how early students get to events,” Mooney said.
She suggested improvements to be made in the waiting process, like handing out tickets so “you don’t wait for an hour just to get kicked out.”
Page explained during the panel that they are working to improve waiting conditions. However, space is limited to seating-room only in order to meet fire code regulations.
First-year human rights major Grace Cannon stated after the event, “My favorite part about it was probably how [Froehlich] used evidence and facts and statistics” to explain how the assignment progress works.
She wished Spina had talked on the panel. “I would have been interested in what he would say on the matter,” Cannon said.
Any suggestions about AVIATE and housing can be directed to Housing and Residence Life’s email: email@example.com.