Sophomores pick housing

A record number of returning students opted to live at the Mount Vernon Campus for next year, leading to a smaller number of students without housing than officials originally expected.

More than 100 rising sophomores chose a Mount Vernon room in Sunday’s lottery, helping ease the need to accommodate a surplus of students seeking on-campus housing.

As of Sunday night, 164 rising sophomores were on the wait list, but in years past more than 200 rising sophomores were without a room at the end of housing selection.

“It looks like the number of sophomores on the waiting list is going to be somewhat smaller than we thought, which is always good news,” said Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services.

Rising sophomores without housing for next year may fill out an on-campus housing interest form on the Community Living and Learning Community’s Web site – gwired.gwu.edu/cllc – and will be offered vacancies as they become available. Sonn said he is confident that the CLLC will accommodate all rising sophomores looking for housing.

“I think we’re in great shape at this point given the numbers,” Sonn said. “At this point we’ll look at what the vacancies are and set out a game plan.”

Last Monday, 165 rising juniors and seniors filled out forms because they did not receive housing, all of whom received an offer within the week. While upperclassmen who do not obtain a room may live off campus, rising sophomores are required to live in University housing.

“Obviously, with sophomores it’s a little bit different because of the BZA,” Sonn said. “So after selection is done, we’ll go back and determine what we need to do about the freshman who didn’t select housing.”

The city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment requires GW to house 70 percent of students, including all freshmen and sophomores, on campus by fall 2006.

As in past years, New Hall and the Dakota were the first residence halls to fill with rising sophomores.

All of the 46 quads available to rising sophomores were occupied by just after noon, and triples lasted just a few hours longer, forcing many students to reshuffle their plans at the last minute.

“I really wanted a quad, but there just weren’t enough of them,” said freshman Kelly Christian, who ended up parting with her presumed group of future roommates. “We just sat there and watched all these rooms dropping away. We kind of expected it, but we were a little disappointed.”

Many students who managed to secure their first option said they were struck by how nerve-wracking the selection process can be.

“I got the room I wanted, but only after a long, strenuous process,” said freshman April Seligman, who watched with her future roommates as their options grew more scant. “Eventually we got into the Dakota, so I’m pretty happy. But a lot of people weren’t, which sucks.”

The online selection proceeded again this week absent of the technical glitches that plagued last year’s process. Officials pushed back housing selection last spring after some numbers were not randomly assigned.

“Nothing really struck me (this year),” Sonn said. “I didn’t see any surprises today, nothing really shocking.”

Some students said they thought there would be a larger number of rooms available to them in popular residence halls.

“We were told there would be at least three or four floors in New Hall devoted to sophomores, but when we got online there were only 14 quads and two doubles,” said freshman Jessica Rutstein, who eventually secured a room in the highly popular residence hall.

Sonn said that pre-selection estimates were based on numbers from previous years and had to be readjusted to account for availability after last week’s upperclassman selection.

“We’ve always said that these bed assignments are subject to change,” he said. “That (estimate) was off the top of our heads and was given before we even got back the squatters applications, so things can change.”

Few rooms remained as the selection process drew to a close Sunday night. All available spaces on Foggy Bottom were occupied, and just a few remained in Somers, Pelham and Cole halls on the Mount Vernon Campus. Administrators said they would work in coming months to ensure that every student seeking on-campus housing receives it.

“It’s going to happen,” Sonn said. “We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again.”

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