University News

Housing changes cause tension on first night of lottery

By
Senior Staff Writer
Students crowded into Sayles Hall Wednesday for the first night of the housing lottery.

Students crowded into Sayles Hall Wednesday for the first night of the housing lottery.

Correction Appended.

Mohammed Ghazi Atallah ’13 started off this year’s housing lottery by choosing Minden Hall 807. The first 460 housing groups selected rooms at Sayles Hall last night, and the rest will choose next Tuesday.

Members of Residential Council, dressed in bright T-shirts and funny hats, stood beneath a large screen displaying available rooms at the front of the auditorium. A line of representatives for the upcoming six groups formed along a side of the room. The rest of the participants waited nervously in their seats, at first only filling the front rows. In the middle of the night, when the event was most heated, the auditorium was packed with rowdy and anxious students. 

For around the first 20 minutes, the lottery went smoothly as members of the first 100 groups slowly filed in. No shows did not even receive the typical applause from the crowd. 

“It’s just chill,” said Freddy Navarro ’13, whose group, number 69, was hoping to get a suite in Vartan Gregorian Quad with his group.

The majority of the early groups sought singles. Singles in Minden, the Pembroke dorms and rooms in the newly renovated 315 Thayer St. were some of the most popular choices, though some groups who chose 315 Thayer St. said they were a little unsure of what to expect.

“They didn’t list the square footage of the rooms, so we’re not sure what we got ourselves into,” said Luisa Garcia ’13 after her group leader selected a room in the building. “But we really like that part of campus, and the access to Thayer (St.) is great.” 

Tensions started to rise as the prime rooms were swept up, and the room started to fill with both people and noise. At this point, no-shows were met with cheers and applause from the audience, and certain room choices were met with boos and groans. 

Singles went quickly in a year when, due to upcoming renovations, Keeney Quadrangle, Andrews Hall, Miller Hall, Wayland House and Metcalf Hall were not included in the lottery. To replace some of the missing singles, Graduate Center D was converted entirely into singles.

ResCouncil wants to emphasize creating a community for sophomores, housing them largely in doubles on main campus, said Andy Chang ’13, housing lottery committee chair for ResCouncil

“We’re trying to have sophomores live in doubles and juniors and seniors live in singles,” he said. “People overemphasize singles sometimes, but we want to try and keep the community intact.”

ResCouncil’s plan is for sophomores to live in Littlefield Hall and Hope College, which were made sophomore-only for next year, joining Caswell Hall and Hegeman Hall. Juniors will live in the Grad Center and New Dorm areas, and seniors will live off-campus and in the Barbour Hall and Young Orchard apartments.

But rising seniors did not always fulfill those expectations, usually targeting the dwindling singles. 

By number 198, the last single on Pembroke was taken, prompting loud groans, and the last of the Wriston Quadrangle singles soon followed. Many students ended up dropping down to form larger groups as others started to dip into the Grad Center singles.

Around the same time, rising juniors started to make their selections, many of them disappointed by the dearth of remaining singles. 

“I just wanted anything on Pembroke – Grad Center was probably the last place I wanted,” said Alexandra Salinas ’14, who, with number 299, was left with no other choice.

Other juniors who hoped to get singles had even worse luck ­- the last single was claimed at number 375. Some juniors said they expected better luck based on the previous years’ results.

“All the past years, there were some left at this point,” said Flora Jin ’14, who had hoped for a single but ended up in a Minden double with a friend.

Hegeman and Young Orchard also disappeared earlier than in previous years with the last rooms being chosen in the mid-300s. In previous years, rooms were available well into the 400s.

At the end of the night, the first of the members of the class of 2014.5 began to select rooms. Several rooms in Hope were claimed immediately, and around 9:30 p.m., the stressed masses exited Sayles for the evening. 

“I think it went well,” said Chang, who had previously expressed concern that it had not been advertised sufficiently in years past. “There weren’t as many no shows compared to last year, so I think we managed to get the word out.”

An article in Thursday’s Herald (“Housing changes cause tension on first night of lottery,” April 12) stated that the second night of the housing lottery would take place this Thursday night. In fact, it will take place April 17. The Herald regrets the error.