1,870 opt out of housing lottery

Thursday, March 12, 2009

As most students prepare for the housing lottery in early April, 1,870 undergraduates will not participate in the lottery altogether, according to Associate Director of Residential Life Natalie Basil.

Students wishing to opt out of the lottery – mostly for program, Greek or off-campus housing – had to submit a form to ResLife by March 3, this year’s Super Deadline Day.

Just over 1,000 of these students will live off-campus this year, Basil said.

575 students, 24 fewer than last year, will live in Greek or program houses next year, the majority of whom are new members, according to Basil. This means that next year, roughly 12 percent of all students living on campus will reside in a Greek or program house.

About 35 students requested special interest housing, just over half of whom requested quiet housing, Basil said, adding that substance-free housing was the second most popular request. Another 130 students opting out of the housing lottery will be Residential Peer Leaders and Minority Peer Counselors, and some additional students applied through Disability Support Services.

Basil, who has worked for ResLife since October 2007, said these Super Deadline Day numbers are “standard” in comparison to recent years, adding that there is always some minor fluctuation. “We had a large first-year class this year, which may change the numbers slightly,” she said.

According to Greek Council Chair Adam Kroll ’09, the number of new Greek members, 187, is similar to recent years’ numbers.

About 57 percent of students who will be living in Greek or program housing next term are new members, according to Basil. The high percentage is due to returning members’ option to live off-campus or in other dorms. The majority of new members to these houses are rising sophomores, she said.

For example, roughly half of Kappa Alpha Theta’s members live in house, said its president Ellen Loudermilk ’10, and three quarters of those in-house members are new.

St. Anthony Hall, which has the biggest pledge class they’ve had “since the mid-90s,” has nearly twice as many new members as returning members House President Alice Rha ’09 wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

According to Buxton House President Claire Vergerio ’10, nearly half of next year’s 60 Buxton members are new, in part due to the large outgoing Buxton senior class. It is the largest program house, and with around 130 applicants, it was also one of the more selective houses. “We spent like 20 hours deliberating,” said Vergerio, who said she enjoyed the application process because it allowed her to meet “almost one-tenth of the freshman class.”

Julie Sophonpanich ’12, who was accepted to Buxton, said that even though some found the process stressful, “it was just fun for me.”

Students who participated gave good reviews to the Greek recruitment process.

“Greek Council has been trying to push for a better rush season,” Kroll said, adding that it “went very well” this year. Greek Council distributed a newly comprehensive rush calendar and also held a “Greek-wide” open house on Wriston, a new event according to Kroll. But he added that most recruiting is done by the houses, who did “a great job.”

Greek Council also ran a one-day “New Member Education” event to “orient students to Greek life,” Kroll said. The new program included party manager training, sexual assault prevention training and discussions on diversity, according to Kroll.

Many students emphasized the importance of community when picking a program house, as well as the draw of shared interests. Rha said she thinks people “are drawn to St. Anthony Hall because of the environment – it’s a very energetic, creative atmosphere.”

Some students had their own reasons. Ted Orf ’12, a new Delta Tau member, said he has not visited the fraternity or attended any recruiting events, though he has met some of the current members. He said joining the fraternity is “just a way to avoid the housing lottery.”

As for what draws applicants to Buxton, Vergerio said the reason was twofold. Firstly, “the sense of community,” she said, and secondly, “the parties.”