Students will not receive their housing lottery numbers this year based on the number of academic credits they have. They’ll instead be issued numbers based on their class and will select from a pool of dormitories specifically designated for certain classes.
Seth Weinshel, director of campus housing, said the Community Living and Learning Center is trying to change residential life at GW by making dormitories more distinctly separated by class.
Weinshel said the changes to the housing selection process are being made after hearing complaints from students last year about the old process and getting input from the Residence Hall Association.
“We listened to what students were telling us,” he said. “There was this issue of students wanting to live with their same class, and housing selection will be done much more based on peers and not based on credits.”
Rising fourth-year students at GW will be able to select from Ivory Tower, 1959 E Street, The Aston, Guthridge Hall and all single rooms with kitchens on campus.
Rising third-year students will choose from City Hall, New Hall, International House, Francis Scott Key Hall and The Dakota.
Rising second-year students will have the option of The West End, Mitchell Hall, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Hall, Munson Hall, Guthridge Hall, JJ Building, 2109 F Street, Strong Hall, Madison Hall, Crawford Hall, The Schenley, Pelham Hall and Cole Hall.
Freshmen will select from Thurston, Lafayette, Fulbright, Somers, Clark, Hensley and Merriweather halls as well as the Potomac House, which will be the name of the nearly completed new F Street dorm, Weinshel said.
The only way students can get around living in one of their year-specific dormitories is for someone from another year to pull them into a different dorm, or if they utilize squatters’ rights, in which rising seniors and Mount Vernon residents can choose to remain in their current rooms for the next year. As in the past, only juniors and seniors can be pulled into City Hall, The Aston and E Street dorms, due to zoning stipulations.
The Hall on Virginia Avenue will no longer be used to house freshmen because of a zoning ruling made by the city last year. Weinshel said the short-term use for HOVA will probably be to house those visiting or affiliated with the University, such as groups using the Marvin Center’s conference center or parents. He said GW is still trying to determine the long-term usage of HOVA.
Louis Katz, GW’s executive vice president and treasurer, said graduate students would use HOVA next year, and that the University is analyzing whether there is enough demand for HOVA to be turned into condominium-style housing for faculty in the long-term. He said the addition of the F Street dorm next year will offset the loss of undergraduate housing in HOVA.
Weinshel said CLLC looked at what the most-coveted residence halls were and also at the majority year of students currently living in each residence hall to create the year-specific housing pools.
“It sets a distinction amongst residence halls for all years,” he said. “We set up a system so each year you sort of work your way up.”
Also, he said that the pools were created so that the types of dorms for each year are similar.
“For instance, second-year students all thought they were going to get The Dakota,” Weinshel said. “In comparison to other second-year buildings, grouping it there didn’t make sense because it is more apartment-style living than the others.”
Some freshmen and sophomores who expected to be able to choose from upperclassman housing options because they have a higher number of credits than the average first- and second-year students said they were unhappy with the change.
Raj Padalia, a freshman with 60 credit hours, said students who have earned more credits than the average should get priority when it comes to housing.
Freshman Allyson Bradley said, “It is an elementary system that ignores that in college that people have friendships across the ‘grade’ lines.”
Weinshel said the new process will help alleviate problems with housing selection. He said there was a disproportionate number of juniors left without housing following last year’s housing selection.
Last year, 87 percent of the junior class decided to live on campus their senior year, which was more than CLLC expected.
Students will receive their housing lottery numbers after they fill out an online intent-to-return form, which will be available on GWeb from Feb. 6-10. Housing selection will begin with fourth-year students registering on Feb. 25, and all years will have completed housing by March 2, Weinshel said.
-Ryan Holeywell and Clayton M. McCleskey contributed to this report.