Students who are anticipating a repeat of last year’s housing lottery woes may be pleasantly surprised this spring to find more residence hall options available to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
The Room Selection Committee, assembled by the Community Living and Learning Center to investigate flaws in the housing lottery system, has recommended the University make Madison and Lafayette halls, which currently house freshmen, available to upperclassmen next year. The committee suggested that Mitchell Hall be reserved mostly for freshmen. This will provide additional rooms for returning students, many of whom are placed on CLLC’s waiting list.
The committee, comprised of one representative from each undergraduate class, the Mount Vernon campus, the Residence Hall Association and CLLC, made a number of recommendations to the University, Assistant Dean of Students Mark Levine said.
Convened in October, the committee had only five weeks to prepare its findings for review because of logistical considerations, RHA Vice President Jessica Rosgaard said.
RHA officers presented the committee’s recommendations to RHA members at a meeting Nov. 23. The organization voted 15-10 to support the committee’s findings with seven abstentions.
“Many RHA members thought it would be a good idea to give upperclassmen more housing choices,” Rosgaard said. “Often sophomores are faced with the choice of Mitchell Hall or the waiting list, then it is virtually impossible to room with friends.”
GW guarantees housing to freshmen and sophomores, but the waiting list option often leaves students unsure where they will be placed, Rosgaard said.
Sophomore Muhammad Muyeed found himself in that situation last year, when his high lottery number left him with the choice of living in Mitchell Hall for his second year or finding an off-campus apartment.
“If I went off campus, I would have lost my financial aid,” said Muyeed, a student from Bangladesh. “I couldn’t have afforded that.”
Rosgaard said some RHA members voiced concern for the social development of Mitchell Hall freshmen living in singles, and recommended that CLLC assign community facilitators who are especially skilled at social programming.
“Another main concern about Mitchell was the lack of singles that would be available to upperclassmen,” said Rosgaard, adding that one or more floors may be reserved for upperclassmen if the CLLC plan is adopted.
Though CLLC did seek student input in compiling the initial recommendations, neither the RHA nor other student organizations were consulted by CLLC for suggestions, RHA President Justin Lavella said.
“We had an RHA representative on the committee, but personally, I didn’t feel that one person was adequate representation of the views of an entire body,” Lavella said. “We felt this decision was something the RHA should be a part of, and I think it was important that we got proactive and gave our suggestions to the committee.”
Lavella said the RHA intends to hold town hall meetings this year to better explain the lottery process to students.
“It is the job of the RHA to keep the students informed,” he said. “When students aren’t well informed of a particular process, problems occur for everyone trying to make the process work.”
Levine gave no comment on other particulars of the committee’s recommendations. Neither CLLC nor the dean of students office, which must give final approval to enact the recommendations, verified the final acceptance of the changes.