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Housing Lottery Strands Students

Selection Process Mainly Affects EC

By Jennifer Krishnan


This year’s lottery for summer housing left about 130 applicants without a place to stay for the summer, including 63 residents of East Campus. It was the first time a centralized selection process has determined summer assignments.

About 200 residents of East Campus and a handful of students who live elsewhere listed East Campus as their first preference. Phillip M. Bernard, Manager of Undergraduate Residential Services, said 100 to 130 people typically list East Campus as their first choice. Only 100 spaces in the dormitory are available this summer, Bernard said.

“We need to reassess how many spaces are available in East Campus,” said East Campus President Brandy L. Evans ’01, “I’m sure there’s room for more than 100 people.” She said East Campus House Manager Siobhain Blank is currently arranging for more East Campus rooms to be made available.

Bernard said that portions of East Campus are closed due to renovations. Evans said most of the work being done would only require residents to move out for a short period of time and that the lottery did not take into account whether housing for the full summer or half the summer was requested.

‘A lot more applications’ received

“This year we’ve had a lot more applications than we can remember having,” Bernard said. The Office of Residential Life and Student Life Programs received 1,011 applications this year, compared to their average of 900.

Only 879 spaces are available for undergraduate housing this summer. Even though during the academic year, dormitories house 2,595 undergraduates, during the summer, many of these rooms are used to house participants in summer programs and conferences or are closed for renovations. Additionally, no rooms are crowded during the summer.

Bernard said he expects more cancellations than usual this year. “We have done housing a lot later in previous years,” he said, “and the later you do it, the less cancellations you get” because less people apply for MIT housing as a contingency plan.

“We are expecting to get enough cancellations to house all the people on the waiting list,” Bernard said.

Centralized system implemented

RLSLP made several changes to the summer housing process this year based on a report that Jennifer A. Frank ’00 put together while serving as an intern. The biggest change was centralizing the selection process. In her report, Frank said the old process “was totally decentralized and fairly unorganized. Students’ applications were handed around at different rates from manager to manager.”

The method of selection itself also varied from one dormitory to another. “Some chose at random from their pool of applicants; several used first come, first [served],” according to the report.

This year, all the applications were put into a single database and assigned random lottery numbers. Each dormitory was filled with current residents of that dormitory who indicated it as their first choice, in order of their lottery numbers. If spaces remained, they were filled by other applicants who ranked it as their first choice, followed by all students who ranked it as their second choice, then third, and fourth.

Frank’s report also noted that “notification was done sporadically” and “overall, the notification timing was rather late. ... The vast majority of the student body has more important things to worry about at the beginning of May than where they will be living for the summer.”

This year, all applicants were notified of their assignments or their waiting list status this week.

Other options available

Bernard recommended that people on the waiting list explore housing options in the FSILGs. He also said that summer sublets in the graduate houses are available to MIT undergraduates.

People who find outside housing should make sure to get early returns, Bernard said, so they can move back into their fall assignments during orientation.