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Orientation 2000 Will Introduce Temporary Housing Lottery

By Laura McGrath Moulton


Two years until all freshmen are housed on campus, and all is quiet on the Orientation front -- more or less. In addition to a few small changes to the usual Orientation schedule for the class of 2004, several new programs with an eye to 2002 will be piloted this fall, including a temporary housing lottery and two pilots combining residence and advising within dormitories.

Temporary housing lottery added

One change in this year’s Orientation is the implementation of a lottery for temporary housing assignments. Incoming freshmen will select a dormitory for temporary housing based on the “Guide to First Year Residences,” sent out in the spring.

“It’s an opportunity for data collection,” said Matthew S. Cain ’02, vice president of Dormitory Council. “We’ll be able to see the correlation between what people think they want before Orientation and where they choose to live after.”

Philip M. Bernard, manager of undergraduate residential services, said that freshmen are also being asked to fill out a card which will allow them to evaluate how well informed they felt they were when choosing temporary housing. Freshmen will also indicate what sources of information they used in selecting temporary housing and what features of a dormitory are most important to them.

Bernard said that temporary housing had been assigned through a lottery system up until about five years ago.

Squatting will be in place by 2002

Bernard said that this year the temporary housing lottery and the permanent housing lottery are “entirely separate processes.” A freshman assigned to temporary housing in Burton-Connor, for instance, would have no better chance than anyone else of being assigned there permanently.

However, Cain said that just such a mechanism, known as squatting, will have to be implemented by 2002, according to the plan for the residence system introduced by Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72.

“There’s a lot of student opposition to squatting,” Cain said. He said that the information from the two lotteries this year will be used to evaluate how best to implement the squatting policy. He added that Dormcon may poll freshmen after Orientation to gauge reactions to the current system.

Pilots link housing and advising

Two pilot programs will offer freshmen the opportunity to combine their residential and advising experiences.

At Random Hall, three associate advisors will live in the dormitory, though they may or may not be associated with the freshmen living there.

The pilot at McCormick is more intense. Freshmen living at McCormick will participate in one of six advising seminars or one of two traditional advising clusters exclusive to the dormitory.

Freshmen cannot select McCormick for either temporary or permanent housing through the regular lottery system. Instead, female students interested in living at McCormick must submit a separate application and write essays to be included in the program.

Charles Stewart III, professor of political science and housemaster of McCormick, says he anticipates a great demand for the program.

“McCormick is usually oversubscribed, and there are a number of good seminars being offered,” said Stewart, who will offer a seminar on presidential elections.

Ruchi Shrivastava, president of McCormick, said that a few people had already begun inquiring into the program during the school year after hearing about it during pre-frosh weekend.

“The idea behind the essays is to try to choose a diverse group of students who are serious about participating in the program,” Stewart said.

Shrivastava said that she believes that the pilot is a positive addition both to the dormitory and the freshman experience.

Shrivastava said that the pilot would facilitate social connections across the dormitory. Also, she said, “I feel it is a good support system for the freshmen: they have a chance to really get to know people they might not know otherwise. The professors in charge of the seminars are all really dynamic people and everyone is excited about making the pilot work.”

In addition to traditional advising, advising seminars, and the McCormick pilot, freshmen can also elect to take part in the Mission 2004 project. Run by Professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Kip V. Hodges, the program allows fifty freshmen to work together researching the possibility of past or present life on Mars.

Outside of these changes and new programs, Orientation and rush will proceed as usual, said Elizabeth Cogliano Young, assistant dean for student academic programs and a member of the Orientation committee.

“The schedule is pretty much the same. We’re tweaking things at this point,” Young said, citing the expanded parent orientation as an example.