At last night's housing options fair hosted by the Office of Residential Life, 755 students entered the first pick raffle for the housing lottery.
Last year marked the first time that the priority pick in the housing lottery was decided through a drawing. In previous years, the Residential Council organized a video competition for first pick, but two years ago, council members decided the video contest was not achieving its goal of raising awareness about the lottery and housing options, wrote Natalie Basil, associate director of ResLife, in an email to The Herald.
Last year's raffle took place in the Kasper Multipurpose Room and was packed, Basil wrote, which motivated the move to the larger Andrews Dining Hall this year. Holding a raffle raises awareness in ways that the video competition did not, she said. By requiring students to visit three program house or Greek house tables and receive stamps before entering the raffle, ResCouncil assured that students would have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the different housing programs and options available, said Richard Hilton, ResLife's assistant director for operations.
This fair was "helpful to a certain extent" in raising awareness, said Samantha Squires '14. "I attended this just to enter the raffle, not for the program houses," she said.
Though the first pick video competition was eliminated three years ago, Ben Farber '12, winner of the video competition in 2009 and a competitor in 2010, said he and his friends were disappointed to see it go.
"The first pick video competition brought us together," Farber said. He said he hoped younger Brown students would also have the opportunity to compete.
Farber said that while the video competition may not be hugely effective in implementing and fulfilling ResCouncil's goals for raising awareness of housing options, it was nevertheless "exemplary of Brown's culture in exhibiting creativity and bonding friendships."
"If I were to pick between the video competition and the raffle, I would do the video competition," Squires said. Though she said she had never participated in the contest, she said "it would be very fun to see what everyone could come up with and get a group of friends together."
Nikki Proa '14 found her experience with the raffle last year to be extremely difficult. "There were lots of people and very chaotic," she said. Part of the reason she decided to join a sorority this year was to avoid the housing lottery process.
"For the raffle, it seemed like there was no chance to win it with the amount of people, but the group video competition still gives you a chance," she said.