New Web site helps students find housing off campus


An interactive Web site and database listing of housing opportunities for off-campus living is up and running, just in time to accommodate inquiries from students who plan to attend McMaster in the fall.

Jennifer MacLennan, in-coming off-campus co-ordinator, explains that the site will provide students with up-to-date information and detailed listings of off campus accommodations.

The query-based database, at, asks for three primary requirements: location (selected from a map provided on the site), rent range and type of accommodation. It is also possible to select additional options such as availability of cable, parking and laundry facilities.

Previously, the office provided a static listing of homes and apartments, in no particular order. Individuals had to browse through 30-odd pages of listings to try and find a place that matched their personal requirements.

Janet Leach, administrative assistant, housing and conference services, says the new system was badly needed. “The former system was five years old and was not Y2K compliant,” she explains. “This database is user friendly, includes maps and has a function that lets students e-mail the information back to themselves.”

The site also provides links to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal and local transportation companies.

Ajitpal Dipak, Duncan McKay, Jaspreet Lamba, from the 4ZP6 computing and software class, developed the program under the supervision of their professor, Ivan Bruha. “The students were really good to work with and made a number of good suggestions,” Leach says.

The decision to ask for assistance from computer students has been beneficial to both parties. Housing and conference services obtained a useful program at very little cost and the students, who called themselves the Polaris Consulting Group, used the project to fulfil part of their required course work.