University News

Housing lottery sees tears, jeers

Contributing Writer
Thursday, April 7, 2011

The first 460 housing groups arrived yesterday in Sayles Hall to select their rooms for next year during the first night of this year’s housing lottery. The lottery began a few minutes after 6 p.m., kicking off a two-night event that promised to deliver tension, panic and elation.

The selections began with Anne Oram ’12, a rising fifth-year senior, who chose a single in Slater Hall with the first pick in the lottery.

Melanie Berger ’13 — the leader of the fourth group — along with another sophomore, is rooming with a rising fifth-year senior and, as a result, was elevated to a high pick for a sophomore. As the first triplet group of the night, Berger said she was sure that they would get their first-choice  three-person suite on Vartan Gregorian Quad. “You can see the river from the lounge and two rooms,” Berger said, explaining the reason for their high-rise choice. “We have big plans for the lounge,” Berger said. She said she received emails from concerned three-person groups wanting to know her group’s planned pick so they could strategize.

Group six launched a slew of “no shows” that were met with rowdy applause. But as the “no shows” became more frequent, the crowd’s cheer grew quieter. “I can’t believe how many ‘no shows’ there were,” said Eric Stix ’12. “It’s ridiculous.”

The cheers were quickly counteracted by boos prior to group 30 as more rooms in New Dorm were selected. As the night progressed, cheers and jeers gained new life and the audience returned to its familiar energetic roars.

Technical difficulties during the lottery — including brief “site error” screens — did not appear to affect people’s ability to select rooms.

While early groups were more likely to receive their first picks, groups at the end of the double digits knew they needed to strategize. “We would prefer two suites on the same floor in (Young Orchard Apartments),” Stix said. The remaining three members in Stix’s group of 12 said they were trying to get a triple or three singles in the dorm.

By the time the group was called, all Young Orchard singles and triples were taken, so the group opted to take the two suites on the fourth floor as planned, and put the group of three in a suite on the third floor. “It worked out really nice,” Stix said.

“We have a notecard of rooms in Young O,” said Andrew Leber ’12, one of the seven members of group 104. He said his group was looking for apartment style dorms to house a group of three and a group of four. “We want a kitchen, singles and a bathroom in each,” Leber said about their ideal apartments.

A little while later, Leber sealed his group’s fate. “We got both first picks,” Leber said. “We looked at rooms in the past, and it looked like we were going to get both of these,” he added.

Group 118 was a little less sure they would get their first picks. The group of seven was looking for singles, with six hoping to be on one floor in Andrews Hall. As rooms in Andrews were claimed, the group grew worried. “I refuse to do physical exercise. So if I’m all the way in Pembroke, I better have a nice room,” said group member Christen Dillard ’12.

The group was able to get six singles in East Andrews on two consecutive floors. “I’m happy,” Dillard said. “I have an okay room, so I’m okay with walking. The sinks make up for the distance, and I’m with my friends.”

Cries emerged as the last singles in New Dorm were taken by group 123. There were similar reactions when group 162 took the last Andrews singles. The crowd booed in the early 300s as the last gender-neutral triples in Pembroke were snatched.

Group 326 wanted Hegeman, a prime choice for many rising juniors, “because of its prime locale and its classy fire escapes,” said group member Joanna Zhang ’13. The group got its dorm of choice. “We just made the cut. Bitches were sniping that shit up,” Zhang said.  “We didn’t get the primest of the prime, but we are still living there.”

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