Simpson College has done much to improve the life of its students. I have been enrolled here for three years now and in that time Pfeiffer and Kresge have been remodeled, the football-and what is now the soccer-field grass has been replaced with a textile-rubber hybrid, and numerous projects have taken place at Cowles Field House.
That being said, I believe that there are three things that Simpson still has to improve on: the cost and quality of food service, the amount/quality of live music on campus, and the infamous room draw.
For freshmen that have not yet partaken in the joy that is room draw, let me fill you in. First and foremost, you ARE living on campus. At most other colleges and universities, students have the option to live off campus in rented homes or apartments. Students at Simpson have that option but they have to petition to do so, a process where the chances of a successful outcome are roughly the same as getting to second base with Mother Teresa (God rest her soul).
You will receive a number that corresponds to nothing in particular. Grades, good standing with the college, and outstanding warrants with the Indianola police department are not contributing factors in the resulting number that you obtain.
Conceivably, the cheerful, straight “A”-always-raising-her-hand-for-every-question girl that sits in front in of you in chemistry could wind up with a worse number than the spooky, potential-serial-killer-keeping-dead-squirrels-in-his-dresser kid that sits behind you. This is a problem. Room draw numbers should correspond to something. Grades would be the best correlating medium as they can easily be calculated and ranked.
The number you receive, along with the numbers of your future roommates, will determine where you will live next year. Your numbers will be averaged and this figure will give you the position of where you will choose your dwelling. If you have a good number, have fun in the apartments. A decent number will get you a four-person in Buxton.
However, if you are one of the truly unlucky (as I was last year) say hello to Barker or Kresge… again. You need at least a 2.5 GPA to live in the apartments, too, so spend that extra hour reading Voltaire instead of watching “South Park,” unless you like the idea of group showers.
If apartment life does not trip your trigger, why not bet all your chips and put in an application for a theme house? This is a pretty good deal since your room draw number has no bearing on whether or not you get in. In addition, you get a full kitchen, at least one bathroom, and your room and board does not increase at all. In fact, residents of theme houses and apartments can get the “six-flex” meal plan and save about a thousand dollars.
It’s not all that easy to get a theme house, though. First, you must have a theme. I live in a theme house this year and our theme is “Big Brothers”. We help children of Indianola, Des Moines, and our respective hometowns deal with issues that we have been through, at a time when today’s adults just don’t understand.
You have to write one hell of an essay, too. And be ready for all the baggage that goes along with living in a house with many other people and no janitors (cleaning, buying toiletries, maintenance of possessions) or supervision (throwing parties, getting busted for having parties, cleaning up after parties).
After all this hassle, students at Simpson get to find out where they will call “home” for the following year. It seems like a hell of a lot to go through, but so far our options are severely limited. If you want my advice, do everything in your power to average a good number with your roommates and, if all else fails, the backseat of your car can make a nice living room.