The homesteading process of Augustana College went to be with the Lord last week, following a final heroic exertion on behalf of grateful students in residence halls, theme houses and apartments alike.
Homesteading allowed students to settle a small patch of campus for not one, but two academic years. Students simply had to scribble out a short form, notifying the housing department of their emotional attachment to a dwelling.
Housing officials reviewed the application, and, if no reason to crush the residents’ dreams was uncovered, the students were able to retain the location for an additional year.
Through the homesteading process, those fortunate individuals who managed to not hate their roommates after being stuck together for nine months were able to shrug, say, “This is good enough,” and continue to tolerate each other for another couple of semesters.
The stability that homesteading offered allowed students the valuable real-life experience of putting in a little more interior decorating effort because, hey, they’re going to be there next year anyway.
For students staying on campus in the summer, it was especially convenient to leave all their Walmart treasures in place instead of toting them back to Mom and Dad’s basement.
While exempting a specific dwelling from the room selection process each year is no longer available, a pair or group of roommates could still, in theory, bite their nails, hope for the best and actually keep their perfect little slice of Augie. Or they might move a few doors down. Or back to a dorm.
The housing office decided to put homesteading down in order to more effectively balance the number of apartments among upperclassmen. Their goal is to have about 60 percent of the apartments occupied by seniors and 40 percent inhabited by juniors. Homesteading was believed to skew the housing office’s control over this.
Perhaps writing down how many junior apartments were homesteaded into senior apartments and accounting for that number in the sixty percent could have done the trick, but now we’ll never know.
The death of homesteading is an unfortunate loss in the seemingly successful revamping of the room selection process. In previous years, the go-to gambit has been organizing students into “heats” based on lottery number and making them race each other to gobble up the room they want.
This year, the sequential numbers assigned to students were used to let them choose rooms sequentially, while apartment notifications were made early to allow adequate backup plan development.
Homesteading is survived by students who aregetting psychiatrists’ notes declaring that the emotional stress of moving would be too much to handle on top of all their classes, club commitments, part time jobs, frequent naps and underage drinking engagements.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, March 22 at 8 p.m. It was attended by no one, because, hey, American Hustle was on in the Back Alley.
Matthew Stoffel is a junior theatre, English and journalism major from Sherburn, Minn.