Like many students, incoming first-year Tiffany Williams visited UTM over the summer for a campus tour. Little did she know that her visit would win her over $7,000.

Student Housing & Residence Life hosted a “Take a Tour” contest this summer with a grand prize of a free room on residence, which according to the department’s website is a value of $7,424—the cost of the room alone, not including wireless internet, a laundry card, and other fees.

After Williams had finished touring the school, her tour guide led her and her family to the residences on campus. “When I was leaving, my tour guide told me about the contest and asked if I wanted to enter the draw,” said the business management student.

According to Beth Spilchuk, assistant director of Residence Administration, the contest has existed in one form or another for at least four years. To enter, students were required to complete a ballot, successfully complete their residence application by June 13, and, of course, take a tour of the residence.

“I couldn’t believe that I actually won the contest,” Williams said of her reaction when she found out the news. “I was excited and it made me feel like I was meant to be at UTM. My parents are over the moon too.”

Besides providing an incentive for students to apply for a room in the school’s residences, the draw also served as a medium for the Department of Student Housing & Residence Life to collect student feedback to help inform future marketing campaigns.

“We were able to get some great feedback on why students are interested in residence as part of this contest, which will be used to make changes to our marketing and branding,” said Spilchuk.

Spilchuk was unable to confirm whether the contest would be held again in the future, as the department has not started planning their future marketing campaigns.

She noted that this year, all first- and upper-year students who had applied for residence by the June 13 deadline were given a room. Students who applied after the deadline were placed on the waitlist, and can expect to get offers as more rooms become available due to other students’ cancellations.

First-year students are normally guaranteed a room on residence as long as they apply on time, but upper-year students are given rooms based on a “reapplication score”, which is mainly determined by the applicant’s most recent annual GPA, but also includes the applicant’s discipline record and the completion of experience programs such as rezONE and utmPLUS.