Consider merit-based housing

Allison Corneau

The time is here. It’s finally October, and Quinnipiac students are struggling to cram the past six weeks worth of subject matter into their heads for one single academic midterm exam that will determine their grade thus far in a particular QU course. As the tests are taken, and results handed out, many students will retreat to their dorm rooms to either swear off the subject forever, or realize that they did well because of the extra study time they put in.

For the over 2700 students that live on-campus, dorm life is not something that every student loves. From the crowded public bathrooms to getting used to living with roommates, all students need to adjust to dorm living, and let’s face it, the buildings at Quinnipiac are nice, but they could be slightly more modern. All the dorms on campus are not as up-to-date as the newest residence hall, Moutainview.

Many students who enter the traditional spring housing lottery are able to get what dorm they desire to live in, but there are also a handful of others who do not, leaving those students to wonder why they bother entering the lottery in the first place. This problem would be greatly remedied if the Office of Residential Life could offer on-campus housing based on a merit system. That way, those seemingly futile hours spent studying for midterms and exams could actually count for something more immediate than credits toward a degree you’ll obtain after four years.

According to the Office of Residential Life’s Mission Statement, “(we) are committed to the philosophy that each student’s experience in our residence halls serves as the foundation of his/her college education. To this end, it is our mission to provide a living/learning environment, which enhances the lives of our resident students educationally, socially, culturally and personally.”

The efforts of the conscientious students who come to Quinnipiac intent on enhancing and broadening their intellectual horizons, can be rewarded by simply offering the dorm selection based on merit.

Quinnipiac’s Dean’s List boasts hundreds of names from most states across the country, and prides itself on giving students an “education at Quinnipiac (that) embodies the university’s commitment to three important values: excellence in education, a sensitivity to students, and a spirit of community.” Students would be eager to participate and give back to the school community if this incentive was in place.

When students enroll in the spring lottery, they are in the process of wrapping up the academic year and are beginning to study for final exams. Studying for these exams would be so much easier if the truly motivated students knew that they would be rewarded following the completion of their hard work.

Students who complain about the dorm facilities being less than adequate would be encouraged to take part in this incentive program, because they could finally enjoy their dorms the way they should, and those complainers could get a “better” dorm (in their opinion) if they so chose. Quinnipiac as an institution could boast increased overall student GPA’s, improving their reputation as a well-known Connecticut and New England private university.

Life for the campus Residential Assistants would be made easier, since the upper- echelon of students would most likely be concentrated in one or two select “nicer” dorm buildings. This grouping of students would eliminate potential violence or alcohol abuse problems, due to the fact that the students in these dorms are obviously more concentrated on studying and obtaining their degree than partying until dawn every day.

Quinnipiac should take a lesson from area schools like UCONN and the University of Hartford, who both offer honors housing. These schools have great student organizations and great student leaders who run them, many of whom I’m sure take advantage of the honors housing. Elsewhere on campus, it is assumed that “honors” students naturally feel more accepted and encouraged to do well in their studies since the housing incentive program is instituted.

QU already has a large number of significant student leaders on campus, but this incentive program could encourage even more students to get involved. Once students realize that it pays off to be intellectually advanced in more ways than just getting better housing, Quinnipiac can reap the benefits of a more enthusiastic and diverse student body.

So, the next time students complain about getting the short end of the stick with the housing lottery, maybe the Office of Residential Life could take a hint and devise some sort of merit-based housing system. The Quinnipiac community as a whole would benefit greatly, and QU could further make its mark as one of the best private universities in the country.