By Rose Miller, Staff Writer

Purington Hall (photo courtesy of UMF Residence Life Facebook Page)

Purington Hall (photo courtesy of UMF Residence Life Facebook Page)

Rather than using MaineStreet, UMF Housing hopes to simplify the on-campus housing application process for students this April by holding signups in the North Dining Hall where students can choose a room, pick a meal plan, sign their housing contract, and have access to assistance if needed.

The event will be held in the North Dining Hall April 6-9 beginning at 6pm. Students will also be interested to hear there will be a $200 discount off housing costs for the first 436 students who sign their housing contracts.

Robyn Raymond, Assistant Director of Housing, Residence Life, and Academic Success, described the layout of the event. Each residence hall will be represented by one of seven tables around the room. Tables will display information about each residence hall including a large floor plan showing which rooms are available and giving students a better idea of where their new room will be located within the hall.

A string of computers will be set up so students can register for housing online after gathering all the information they need. There students can also select a meal plan and sign their housing contracts. Completing room selection, housing contracts, and meal plans in one fell swoop will make the process run more smoothly according to Raymond. “It cuts out all that confusion, all three things are done right there.”

Signups have been conducted online for past five years or so at UMF but in lieu of some confusion last year, Student Life decided to make signups a live event. “Last year people were just taking a shot in the dark and if it didn’t go through they were scrambling for other rooms.” Raymond said.

She emphasized that by hosting a live event, there will be people available who are knowledgeable of the housing system and can offer assistance. Raymond said the event will be “much more conducive to what we’re trying to accomplish, making it easier on students.”

UMF student Louise Villemont offered a few words on the event via FaceBook. “It sounds more personable…” said the Sophomore. While she seemed optimistic of the new event Villemont did wonder if things could get a little hectic.

Each student will be given a lottery number determining when they can sign up. Lottery numbers are based on how many credits a student has earned with priority going to those with the most. Numbers are retrievable in the Student Life Office, room 116 in the Olsen Student Center, beginning March 9th.

Raymond also elaborated on opportunities for students to save money on housing next fall, including the $200 dollar discount previously mentioned. “We want to make living in the residence halls more affordable and that’s one of the ways we’re able to do so for students,” Said Raymond. Contracts can be picked up in the Student Life Office and must be returned by March 15.

Reopening next fall, Lockwood Hall’s apartment style living may also save students some money. All apartments will be singles but will be the same size as a regular double room. However Lockwood rooms will be $800 dollars cheaper than buying out a double in another residence hall. Also meal plans are not required so students save $2,000 there as well. Signups for Lockwood will be held separately at a table in the Student Center on March 25.

In other news, students may recall there was a Hunger Games theme to last year’s signup’s, but according to Raymond they’ll be following a yellow brick road to the North Dining Hall this year. “It’s going to be Wizard of Oz themed,” Raymond said, “there’s no place like home.” She said, “We want it to be a celebration, not a task that they have to do online.”

While an email detailing the exact dates and times for signups will be sent out to the student body soon, Raymond encourages anyone seeking more information to visit the UMF Housing Facebook page.