Web site to help reserve rooms

The Registrar’s Office will implement a pilot program this spring to improve the way student organizations request rooms for rehearsals, meetings and other events.

The new system will allow representatives of registered student organizations to search the availability of rooms and to request formal reservations on a single Web site, said Jill Carlton, the registrar and director of Student Information Technology Services. Student organization officials said they expect the changes to simplify and to expedite the often lengthy process for using rooms.

The Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus rehearses in WLH. A pilot program debuting this spring will enable student groups to reserve rooms online.
Lea Yu
The Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus rehearses in WLH. A pilot program debuting this spring will enable student groups to reserve rooms online.

Under the current system, organization leaders must contact the Registrar’s Office and wait to hear back about a room’s availability. Carlton said the new system should improve her office’s effectiveness.

“I think it will make us more efficient in being able to schedule the classrooms and lessen the workload of the people who do it,” she said. “I hope the response time will be shorter.”

The Registrar’s Office uses software called Resource 25 to manage the schedules of all rooms on Yale’s campus, including those used for classes, discussion sections, screenings and student events. In 2007, the online component of this software will be opened to Yale-certified student organizers, who will be given accounts to log into the program. Still, there will be no automatic booking, and requests will continue to require confirmation from the Registrar’s Office, Carlton said.

The online request system will also be utilized by Media Services and certain academic departments, she said.

Student club organizers said they think the new online system will improve the often slow booking process.

Eric Bank ’08, business manager of the Yale Alley Cats a cappella group, said he regularly e-mails the Registrar’s Office to request rooms.

“It definitely takes them some time to get back to you, but it’s not terrible,” he said. “I think [the new program] should definitely improve the process, even just in terms of having it be simpler.”

Paul Selker ’08 said when he has tried to reserve a classroom in the past, he had to “go through all sorts of hoopla.” A clear and updated list of when and where space is available would have prevented the problems he encountered, he said.

“There was confusion about how long I could use a room and when which rooms would be available,” Selker said.

Last week, the Yale College Council requested that the Registrar’s Office put a link to the new system on YaleStation and passed a resolution to encourage and publicize the online calendar system.

YCC Secretary Zach Marks ’09 said the current system is problematic for student organizations.

“There’s sort of a history at Yale of students being frustrated with the room reservation process,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for organizations to say that they’ll hold meetings in WLH basement just because they don’t know how to reserve rooms.”

Marks said the Registrar’s Office has worked on improving the system but has not effectively publicized its progress. YCC Representative Danielle Carter ’08 — who is heading the YCC’s efforts to support the online system — said if the changes are successful, the YCC hopes to make the system available to all members of the Yale community.

Carlton said the Registrar’s Office planned to open the online system before the YCC’s request, though she welcomes student feedback on the reservation process.

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