After receiving feedback from several students, the Office of Residential Life extended the deadline for the senior housing selection process, allowing members of the class of 2024 who missed the first lottery a chance to secure on-campus housing, according to an email sent to current juniors by Director of Residential Operations and Strategic Planning Amanda Surgens.
Originally, ResLife planned to have one round of housing selection for seniors. An email was sent to rising seniors in early October to inform them that they would be required to request on-campus housing through a form, which was then sent in early November, just before the lottery took place.
“After the application deadline, we heard from some rising seniors who were interested in living on campus and created an extended senior selection process to meet those students’ needs,” Surgens wrote in an email to The Herald. “The inventory of rooms available to students in the extended senior selection process on Dec. 8 will include the rooms not selected on Nov. 17 (in the original lottery) and additional rooms that align with the room styles and locations that seniors have selected in previous years.”
ResLife uses a lottery system to assign on-campus housing, in which students are given a slot to choose their location in an online portal. This year, the general housing lottery, during which all remaining community members will choose housing, is slated for April 2023, The Herald previously reported.
Surgens, who wrote responses on behalf of ResLife, did not respond to a question on the number of students that would be participating in the lottery.
Jarrett Fernandes ’24 told The Herald he accidentally missed the email notifying him of the original form but planned to live on campus, and was surprised to receive an email from ResLife saying that the lottery had taken place and he would not be guaranteed on-campus housing. Those who failed to fill out the original form were initially told they would be placed into a late lottery, after all other continuing students chose their housing.
In the past, seniors have been required to opt out of on-campus housing rather than in, so Fernandes said he was particularly confused by the lack of communication from ResLife. “I knew ResLife had shaken up a ton of policies, but I hadn’t even remembered receiving an email about this form,” Fernandes said.
This change in policy is one of several modifications ResLife made for this academic year to improve the housing selection process, Surgens wrote.
“Because the number of rooms available for selection in subsequent housing selection processes depends on the number of seniors who plan to live on campus, Residential Life can best plan and implement the other processes with a firm number for on-campus seniors,” she wrote. The lottery for seniors was set to take place once in November to determine the number of seniors opting into on-campus housing before the general lottery.
Though Fernandes received the emails ResLife sent, he felt that communication about the changes was inadequate. “In the past, we’ve actually received multiple emails throughout the entire process, usually one at the beginning, one in the middle (and) one in the last few days saying, ‘This is your last chance,’ ” he said.
Dana Toneva ’24, a former Herald designer who also missed the original form, was similarly surprised at the level of communication from ResLife regarding changes to the housing selection process.
Surgens did not respond to multiple questions about ResLife’s communication with students.
Fernandes argued that students were more distracted than usual in late October when the initial form was sent out because of midterm exams.
“I just thought, ‘This is not okay,’ ” he added. “I emailed ResLife and was like, ‘Hey, I don’t think this was adequately communicated, and I was wondering if there’s any resolution we can come to.’ ”
Toneva, too, decided to speak with coordinators at ResLife — she met with Surgens and explained that “it’s midterms and it’s very stressful, and I did not get a reminder.” “It was a bit of a back and forth for a while,” Fernandes said. “They took my complaint seriously, but they did want to stick to their guns and were just saying they’ll fix it for the future.”
Because Fernandes felt strongly about the situation, he continued to email ResLife. “I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t think we’re asking for a lot. I think most of us would be fine if we could be guaranteed housing before the juniors and the sophomores,” he said.
Ultimately, Surgens emailed Fernandes with the updated policy. “Personally, I’m very thankful toward them, because they didn’t need to do this. They could have just brushed this off,” Fernandes said. “But they were kind about it and receptive to student feedback, so that was good.”