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ResLife Committee Has Monthly Meeting with Joe Burke

10/27/2010

The SA Committee on Residential & Community Life met with Director of Residential Programs, Joe Burke on Wednesday. Burke has agreed to meet with the committee once a month to follow up on the committee’s progress and offer an administrative perspective on committee initiatives. This month, the focus has been on the implementation of a late-night shuttle service, bringing Redbox movie rentals to the University, and managing the changes to the housing lottery.

One of the major initiatives that the committee has undertaken is the creation of a late-night shuttle service. The group has been researching to determine what type of system to implement. One of the biggest questions is if it should be on-demand or an extension of the existing Blue-Light Bus Service. The committee looked to the systems in place at other universities around the country and found that the hours and type of system varies. The issue for Cornell is that the campus is so large. The late-night library crowd as well as those on the social scene often dwell off campus. Getting them to these destinations could potentially raise conflicts with local taxi services. The committee will be requesting information from the libraries to determine the peak late-night hours. Of course, cost remains an issue; however, until a decision is made regarding how many hours and on what days the shuttle should run, a determination of costs cannot be reached. Burke mentioned that he will be going to the Ivy Housing Conference soon and would gather more information about the types of services offered at our peer institutions. The committee will produce more information at the next meeting.

Another focus was on bringing Redbox movie rentals to the University. Burke gave a report of the efforts he had made since the last meeting. He had submitted the idea to the University’s business office, who contacted the company. Burke had to draft a proposal that essentially outlined how the service would be used. The company declined the opportunity to implement the service at Cornell due to the amount of foot traffic in the proposed area (RPCC). The company requires at least 15,000 people to travel the area in a week. Burke expressed to the committee that there are about 3,500 first-year students living on North Campus. The committee questioned whether the company considered the amount of students that frequent RPCC multiple times a day during the week. The committee decided to search for alternative companies to provide the service.

The final point of the meeting revolved around the housing system and the new lottery. It was discussed how the recent informational meetings that were held failed to discuss how the new lottery would actually work. Burke went into detail about how the lottery positions have shifted, with rising Sophomores receiving priority. He also described how Keaton & Bethe Houses have opted to do housing selection based on leadership and how involved in the house residents are when considering their continued occupancy option. Special attention was given to Program Houses and making sure that students know all of the different housing options. When describing how many upperclassmen end up in Program Houses, Burke stated that they often choose to live there because it is a last resort. He then explained that a survey is conducted every year, and the records show that the level of satisfaction in Program Houses is higher than that of other residence halls. The committee decided that they would place some emphasis on how residence halls are marketed in the future. Burke described other issues within the housing system including the abundance of different housing dates for individuals houses, the competition between the West & North Campus housing systems, and the application process for Program Houses. Burke also mentioned that the new housing materials will be disseminated soon. The committee suggested that in the future, these materials be presented to ResLife Committee before being printed. The committee will be tracking the lottery in the coming weeks.

ResLife Committee meets every Wednesday at 4:30pm in Goldwin-Smith 160. Joe Burke meets with the committee once a month. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas–feel free to stop by or contact the chair at (ujs3@cornell.edu).

Ulysses Smith

Architecture, Art & Planning Representative

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