Marist’s Debate on Priority Points

Recently, the future of the priority point system has been debated. The administration is questioning how beneficial it is for all students, and if it is fair for everyone. Alternatives, if the priority point system was removed, would include an altered system or a lottery.

As the priority point system stands, points are gathered mainly through a student’s GPA, the number of clubs they are apart of and how involved they are, sports teams, community service, and following housing protocol. The more points a student has, the earlier selection spot they have on housing day. Therefore the more points, the better housing you are likely to have.

I oppose ending the priority point system. I think it works as an incentive for Freshman to get involved in clubs and activities freshman year. I understand where the line between doing a club because they want to, and doing it because of the points, can become blurry. However, towards the end of their time here at Marist, a student is more than likely to narrow down the clubs they are a part of to ones that meet more of their interests.

Coming from a club leader’s perspective on this issue, I can also understand club presidents frustrations when they have students in their club that are only there for the points. However, it can become very obvious who is there for the points and who is there because they are interested in the purpose of the club. Therefore, the problem is in determining why people are there so efforts are not put upon people who do not care as much.

Many students also become members of Campus Ministry; undoubtedly many do so because it is a low commitment. However, many students also partake in weekly community service or day-long service trips that are done through the club and goes towards the community service priority point. I can also understand why community service should be done for the simple joy and purpose of helping others. However, even if there is a selfish aspect to it, that will not hinder the job from being done and people being helped.

This system also acts as a reward for students who are doing well academically and contribute to the Marist community. In a very selfish way, I personally would be upset if I received worse housing than someone who has a much lower GPA and is not as involved on campus as I am. Just as Honors floors are created to give the Honors students better housing if they wish and to bring in a draw for honors students to come to Marist, this system to housing can also act as a selling point. Why would a student much rather receive housing randomly when they can have a say in where they live and increase the probability they live there by being a better community member at Marist.

During a town hall meeting designed to address questions students have about the point system and what changes would be made, President Yellen expressed the reasoning behind why he believes these changes need to be made. He says this system does not adequately support students who come for lower-income households because those students need to give more time to jobs and their family responsibilities. Because of that, those students are not able to be as involved in academics and extracurriculars.  

Taking that into consideration, a change can be created in the system to help those students who need to spend more time working than joining clubs. A  solution would be to offer points to students who hold a job on campus, just as if it were a club, especially students that have a job under work study. Many jobs on campus that take place in the evening or night time, restrict a students ability to attend club meetings. Therefore if points are offered for jobs, then students will not have to worry about making those club meetings.

Of course, there is no perfectly fair and equal system to housing selection at any institution. I think Marist priority point system is rather fair, however, adjustments could be made to improve the system.

Hannah KirkComment