Housing’s new registration system is being rolled out in the coming days, and there are several new features worth mentioning, with the new system for finding roommates at the head of the list. While many students will simply check which friends are looking for roommates, many will find the added granularity in control over their rooming situation a great boon. In particular, freshmen and co-op students whose schedules do not line up neatly with their friends’ schedules will find it particularly useful. The change to determining a room’s housing priority based on the highest-priority roommate is also a move in the right direction, as having a roommate with a much lower housing priority is a common source of friction between students.
On the other hand, a few features need work. The added difficulty of pulling roommates into an existing room is confusing, as this is a fairly common technique of dealing with friends on co-ops. Similarly, the added complexity of having two deadlines for students who want to stay in the same room could cause several headaches for students and administrators alike. The new time-ticket system and proposed limits for how many students can be online at once also seem to be just waiting to cause frustration.
What it all boils down to is that the system seems much more complex. Optional complexity is preferred when it offers students more control, but as a whole, the additional complexity seems like it will cause a number of issues with confused students losing the room they have been in for years, not being able to pull in a friend coming back from a co-op or being booted from an overly busy system. This complexity should be addressed to avoid complicating the system beyond what is necessary. More importantly, though, the implications of the changes need to be clearly and widely communicated to the student body.