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Housing lottery potentially to move online

The proposal is meant to reduce student stress and allow them more time to select their rooms

The housing lottery may move out of Sayles Hall and onto the Internet later this academic year. The proposal for this change is under review by Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services, and Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services.

A decision is expected by the end of the month, said Richard Hilton, associate director of residential life.

The website’s construction began in March and members of Residential Council reviewed the new online system in April, Hilton said.

“(The Office of Residential Life) and the lottery chair told us that they had the technological capacity to just do the whole thing online,” said Olivia Conetta ’14, ResCouncil member and former Herald copy desk chief. “We discussed it for a while and decided we’d like to go through with it.”

Focus groups consisting of 20 randomly selected students will test the new housing lottery process and provide input. As part of the online lottery system, students will have designated time slots over the course of several days in which they can go online and select their desired rooms.

“(Students) will have a three-minute window verses 30 seconds at the podium,” Hilton said. “It’ll also allow students to log in wherever they are into the system. So they can do it in the privacy of their rooms, they can do it in the coffee shop, they can be studying abroad and be able to go into the system and choose. They won’t have to have a proxy anymore.”

By moving the housing lottery online, ResLife hopes to make the room selection process less stressful for students, Hilton said. The online format will provide a less chaotic environment, so students can select rooms without “having to make that split second decision when they get up to the board and the group before them just picked the room they wanted,” Hilton said.

“I think it would be less stressful because many people end up using their computers to follow the live updates in Sayles, and it would be much easier to just open a second window on the computer to enter housing selections,” said Rudy Chen ’15, a ResCouncil member.

But some students lament the loss of a campus custom.

“I feel like it’s a tradition at Brown to have the housing lottery — everyone there, the wild stuff — it’s part of the Brown thing,” Arturo Cardenas ’15 said. “Also, Brown hasn’t ever been good at any online thing.”

The designated time slots are intended to avoid system crashes, Hilton said, which have been an issue with other online processes such as class registration and Spring Weekend ticket sales.

“It’s not going to be hundreds of students going into the system at one time,” Hilton said. “We can really coordinate the amount of traffic.”


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