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Dormitory Lottery Starts Successfully

By Brett Altschul

The housing lottery began on Athena yesterday at 4 p.m. without any of the glitches that accompanied it last year.

Freshmen and transfer students who intend to live in dormitories should enter the lottery by 3 p.m. today. The lottery can be activated from an Athena account by typing "add forms; froshpref &".

The program allows students to enter roommate groups of up to four people, said Andy Oakland, the programmer for Information Systems who wrote the lottery program. Ideally, all members of a roommate group should be present when one of them runs the program, he said.

There are a total of 15 choices in the lottery: 10 dormitories, Chocolate City, and four language houses. However, two choices are single-sex. McCormick Hall is all- female, Chocolate City is all-male.

Phillip M. Bernard, staff associate in the Office of Residence and Campus Activities, said that this year the lottery organizers hoped to get even better results than last year, when almost all students got their fifth choice of dormitory or higher.

The results of the lottery will be available on Wednesday, starting sometime between 3 and 5 p.m., Oakland said.

"Students can view the results by running the froshpref' program again," he said. "We'll also be sending out e-mail, but we wanted to make it easier for students" who haven't gotten their e-mail figured out yet.

The lottery will still be available to students whose Athena accounts aren't yet fully active, Oakland said. Such students should talk to an Athena consultant. "The consultants all should have instructions for what to do," he said.

Form asks single-sex preferences

The actual code for this year's lottery program is the same as last year's, Oakland said. However, some of the data files with the text have been changed.

Huntington Hall, a dormitory in Boston that MIT leased a few years ago and did not use last year, appeared on the list of choices last year, but has been removed this year, Oakland said.

The introductory text for the selection form has also been changed, specifically mentioning the possibility of single-sex housing, Oakland said. "It asks students who are interested to mention [single-sex housing] in the comment field," he said.

"There's no guarantee that we'll be able to honor the requests," Oakland said. "We put it in because of the increased demand for single-gender housing."

Last year, the lottery suffered some problems. It went online an hour late because of a final change Oakland made to the program.

"We left the server running in single-user mode," and no one else could access it, Oakland said. "It took us an hour to get it back into multi-user mode."

Students happy with lottery

Gerda R. Nolan '00 said the lottery was easy and convenient to use. "I really thought it was easy," she said.

Emma R. Tevaarwerk '00 echoed these sentiments after she completed her selections. "I didn't have any problems," she said.

Tevaarwerk also said that she planned to utilize the lottery's option to revise her choices. "I'm probably going to end up coming back and changing things around before the end," she said.