Approximately 160 students will receive on-campus housing for the 2019-20 academic year through the summer assignment process.
Of these students, 130 are rising juniors, wrote Melissa Flowers, senior director of residential education and operations in the Office of Residential Life, in an email to The Herald. This amount is consistent with previous years, she added.
“Each year, (ResLife) works to place over 3,200 returning students into sophomore and upper-division housing assignments,” Flowers wrote. “The vast majority of these assignments are completed during the routine housing lottery and pre-lottery processes, but we typically run out of spaces during (the) lottery.” For next year, all residence halls not designated as first-year dorms are currently filled.
But “a number of students will separate from the University during the summer months” for personal leaves, medical leaves or to study abroad or away, Flowers wrote. Additionally, “a number of rising seniors participate in (the) Housing Lottery but later choose to live off campus,” she wrote. Based on previous years, the University anticipates that 110 to 150 students who received rooms through the housing lottery will go abroad next semester and enough upperclassmen will move off campus to free up space for students currently without a housing assignment.
ResLife only places students into residence halls for summer assignment “once they receive official notification from a departing student that they are canceling their housing assignment.” Assigning housing over the summer is a rolling process that allows ResLife to maintain group requests when possible, Flowers wrote.
ResLife is working to improve the housing selection process in the future, Flowers wrote. “We are actively working (to better predict) the number of students we can anticipate will be on the summer housing waitlist, … exploring better housing management software systems to make for more seamless housing selection processes … and considering policies that may help us receive earlier indicators of students who select rooms through (the) housing lottery but will ultimately live off campus.” In addition, the construction of the new health and wellness residence hall at 450 Brook St. should decrease the need for summer assignments, Flowers wrote.
Students interviewed by The Herald were disappointed to be in the summer assignment process.
Oscar Newman ’21, who participated in the housing lottery in a group of eight, said his group wanted to avoid splitting up at all costs.
“We crunched the numbers and thought we’d be alright,” Newman said, adding that his group was on the second to last page of the lottery. “We printed out maps of every single dorm at Brown, … but eventually we realized there was no way we’d be getting housing. … We gave up and resigned ourselves to our fate.”
“(We) were not super excited to be in summer assignment because we knew there is a good chance we’ll get split up or not know where we will get to live until the end of August,” Newman added.
Elena Jin ’21 and her group were on the last page of the housing lottery. “This was after being on the last page of the lottery last year,” Jin said. “It was two non-ideal situations back-to-back.”
By the time her group’s slot came up, Jin said there were no rooms available. The only option they had was to pass, sending them to the summer assignment process.
Flowers understands that “it is naturally somewhat disconcerting to not have solidified housing arrangements for the following year, especially when many of your peers have already made arrangements,” she wrote. But ResLife is “able to accommodate the vast majority of roommate pairings, and we work to keep groups together as best we’re able.”
Even though the housing lottery is usually unable to assign housing to every participating student, ResLife does not grant more off-campus housing permission to upperclassmen to avoid the summer assignment process. “We feel that living on campus is critically important to the overall educational experience,” Flowers wrote.
Still, Newman is unsatisfied that students are required to live on-campus for three years unless they receive off-campus permission.
“ResLife chooses not to give more off-campus permission when there are many students able and willing to go live off campus,” Newman said, “especially given that it’s usually cheaper than living at Brown.”
ResLife gives summer assignment to “way more people than they have to,” Newman said. “It’s unfortunate.”