More than 400 rising juniors left Saturday’s housing lottery homeless for next year after the room selection ended 10 numbers into the process. All 588 seniors with numbers chose housing, but rising junior numbers, which go from 1,000 to 1,999, stopped at 1,010.
The Student Association joined Change for Students to organize an overnight protest of the lottery on the Quad next week.
As of Tuesday, 114 juniors joined GW’s guaranteed waiting list to receive on-campus housing and about 40 students opted to take back their $300 housing deposits to find other housing, said Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services. The remaining students have until Friday at 5:30 p.m. to join the waiting list.
Rooms remain open in residence halls at the Mount Vernon Campus and female-only Strong Hall.
The now 358-person waiting list is already larger than last year’s list, which included 244 rising sophomores without any upperclassmen, Sonn said. The March 11 lottery for rising sophomores ended before all students could pick, and 116 chose to join waiting list.
Unlike in past years, upperclassmen could not pick rooms in Munson Hall or The Dakota, which were reserved for rising sophomores, or FSK, which is reserved for GW Law School students.
Sonn said 100 students who could not get on-campus housing through the lottery signed up for rooms in Columbia Plaza. GW offers rooms in the Virginia Avenue apartment complex under a new deal created last year.
Sonn said he is not surprised by the number of rising juniors on the waiting list.
“Each student on the guaranteed waiting list is guaranteed a Foggy Bottom Campus housing offer,” he said. “There are a number of additional 2109 F Street apartments, along with beds in other properties coming on line in the near future,” he said.
Under this year’s selection changes, the Community Living and Learning Center added 12 rooms in the 2109 F St. apartment building and took away the how many? rooms in FSK.
Some rising juniors said they were shocked when top junior numbers earned them a spot on the waiting list instead of a bed in their residence hall of choice.
Marie Aspillera, who held number 1,015, entered Saturday’s housing selection confident that she would get the JBKO room she wanted. She said she never expected that such a coveted junior number would land her on the guaranteed waiting list.
JBKO closed before seniors finished picking, and the last West End room went to the sophomore ahead of Aspillera.
“The class of 2003 got shafted once again in housing selection,” Aspillera said. “This is the second time that I have been placed on the waiting list and this year I had a very high junior number. It’s very frustrating to not know your room number for next year – if you even have a room.”
Rosalyn Metz, the RHA programming chair who co-authored this year’s housing changes, said more rising juniors should have received housing by the lottery’s design, but fewer 2109 F St. rooms became available than CLLC or RHA predicted.
Metz said GW made changes to the system to ensure that most rising sophomores receive on-campus housing.
Rising junior Mike Robinson said he expected to be waitlisted because his number was high. He said he is confident that GW will offer him housing for the fall and the prospect of living with new roommates does not bother him.
To take action against what members call an unfair housing selection process, student group Change for Students plans an overnight student protest on the Quad with the proposed name “Housing Rejection 2001,” April 11 in conjunction with the Student Association.
“(Change for Students and the SA) don’t want to see students living out on the quad or out in the streets next year,” said junior Dan Loren, co-founder of Change for Students. He said he hopes the protest will raise awareness about housing issues and lottery problems by showing GW officials the number of students who remain homeless.
Pending University approval, the protest will begin at 10 p.m. with a barbecue, live music and contests “to lift the spirits of students who are depressed because they were robbed of a fair housing selection,” SA Executive Vice President-elect Josh Singer said.
The SA expects at least 100 students to sleep out on the Quad and even more to participate in the night’s events, Singer said.
-Katie Warchut contributed to this report.