Students stress about housing

Some students said the housing lottery Saturday was unfair and their options were limited, despite efforts to streamline the process this year.

Unlike previous years, the housing lottery is split into two days – Feb. 26 and March 5 – and is broadcasted live on Cable Channel 33.

Each year, students who plan to live on campus are assigned a number based on their academic credits. During the lottery in J Street students wait for their numbers to be called and then choose residence hall rooms.

But rising juniors said their choices were limited because the Community Living and Learning Center designated the Schenley, the Dakota and Riverside Towers as sophomore residence halls.

Rising sophomores make up the largest class, and the new residence halls designated for them reflect that need, said Andrew Sonn, associate director of Housing Services.

Not everyone is going to get the room they want, Sonn said. I just want them to have a fair chance.

Options for rising juniors and seniors with high numbers were also limited by the number of underclassmen who were pulled in by seniors. Many juniors and sophomores opted to live with seniors in hopes of getting a better room. Students with senior standing, which is determined by academic credit hours, chose their rooms before juniors Saturday.

A lot of sophomores were being pulled in this year compared to others, said Mark Levine, assistant dean of CLLC. Services offered by the Residence Hall Association, such as roommate ads on RHA’s Web site, caused part of the increase in rooms with mixed class standings, Sonn said.

Sophomore Jeff Pietka said he met his new senior roommate through the ads.

I just wanted a situation where I could work with my roommates and also have some privacy, said Pietka, who said he was happy to use his roommate’s senior lottery number.

But the luck of underclassmen who were pulled in meant added stress for rising juniors left to pick from the Aston, Fulbright, Crawford and Madison halls after New Hall, Francis Scott Key, JBKO, Munson and Guthridge halls closed, in some cases earlier than expected.

New Hall closed before senior No. 400, cutting off seniors who hoped to live in the upperclassman hall and were not pulled in by other seniors. Guthridge Hall closed at number 503.

Juniors, whose numbers began at 1,000, were cut off from Munson and JBKO halls after No. 1,180 was called. FSK Hall closed at No. 1,325, and Fulbright closed at No. 1,762. There were a total of 830 junior numbers.

All seniors and juniors with lottery numbers who showed up to the lottery and wanted housing received a room on campus, said Alan Elian, RHA president.

Whatever happened to seniority? sophomore Katie McGolrick asked. Shouldn’t upperclassmen have more choices?

Despite problems, students and CLLC employees said changes to the lottery system made the process more streamlined.

We’re trying hard to make the process easier and smoother, Sonn said.

Sonn said he has been working to make housing selection easier for students than last year. Minimizing the stress of the housing experience is the main goal, Sonn said.

This year we have two weekends to get it right, Sonn said. If things go wrong this weekend then we have another crack at it next (Sunday).

Rising seniors said they noticed an improvement from last year’s lottery.

It was a lot more disorganized last year, said junior Lisseth Cabrio. At least with the two weekends you don’t have to wait here for hours.

Students said they appreciated the broadcast on Channel 33 and in J Street, detailing what numbers were being called at certain times and what rooms were left.

It was the smoothest lottery I’ve ever seen where students were able to make the most educated choices, Levine said.

-Theresa Crapanzano contributed to this report

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