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Some Dorms Undercrowded After Lottery

By Brian Loux


There is now “no crowding” in any of MIT’s undergraduate dormitories, according to Assistant Director for Undergraduate Housing Denise A. Vallay.

Though some dormitories have vacancies, there are still upperclassmen on waiting lists for undergraduate housing.

“Most dorms have waiting lists ... and some people still want to move from their dorms,” Vallay said. She estimates that around 140 people are on dormitory waiting lists.

Most dorms reduce room capacity

“We had no [quintuple rooms] this year,” said Baker House President Joshua Ornstein ’03. In fact, the large quadruple rooms of Baker were reduced to triples. “We actually had to move some freshmen into singles; that was the first time freshmen got singles.”

Because of undercrowding, many dormitories were able to scale back the occupancy of rooms that were previously crowded.

“During the 1999-2000 crowd, some suite lounges in MacGregor were converted into doubles. That is now gone.” said President of MacGregor House Tyler J. Bronder ’03. “This year we are not crowded, but we are ... full to our capacity.”

East Campus, however, fought last year to keep “traditional crowds,” or large singles that have consistently served as doubles. On average, the dormitory has three crowded singles and less than one official double per hall.

“People tend to enjoy this for financial reasons because the housing costs for a single are cut in half, but more importantly people enjoyed the social aspects of the rooms,” said President of East Campus Ryan D. Williams ’04. “Each hall now has about eight freshmen. If all of them [the rooms] decrowded, we would have only had room for three of four per hall.”

Fewer freshmen moved into East Campus than expected. The dormitory hopes to receive undergraduate transfer students as the year goes on.

Currently, about half of Next House residents are members of the class of 2006. “This is an unusual year because all the triples were converted to doubles,” said Next House Housing Chair Mayur V. Kenia ’03. “Thus, there is no crowding and we were able to house all our residents.”

Simmons Hall was in a “different situation,” according to Simmons Rooming Assignment Chair James W. Humphries ’03. “From the beginning, it was impossible to crowd; it was never an option.” he said.

Upperclassmen took the dormitory’s singles during last spring’s lottery and the Simmons Steering Committee set aside a balanced number of freshmen rooms on each floor last year as well. As a result of planning from last year, Simmons is at full capacity.

Residents pleased with decrowding

Vallay, along with many of the dormitory housing chairs, said the lottery went well.

“I haven’t heard any negative things from the freshmen or received any complaints as housing chair,” Kenia said.

“I think we made our intentions clear, so there was no dissent. Everyone seems pleased with where everyone ended up,” Humphries said, regarding the regulated situations surrounding Simmons rush. “The lottery went really smoothly.”

There were, however, some minor complaints. “We didn’t fill the halls up. Now [some freshmen] are pissed off because there are singles open that they want. But they will eventually be filled,” Williams said. Nevertheless, he too felt that the outcome was a positive one. “We have a reasonable proportion of freshmen to upperclassmen,” he said.

“The in-house lottery for freshmen housing took almost until 2 a.m.,” said Robert W. Cheng ’04 of Next House. “They [the house government] shouldn’t do it like they do.”

New dorm populations emerge

There has been a shift of gender and class ratios in many dormitories, but residents have not noticed any detrimental effects of these changes.

“One hundred and one [freshmen] is more than we’ve had in the past, so it’s definitely different,” Ornstein said about Baker.

“The consistency of the floors have also dramatically changed,” Kenia said about Next House. “The cultural mix is more diverse.”

The RLSLP does not plan to attempt to equalize the dormitories in any manner. “I don’t feel comfortable in asking someone to leave a place they like. We’re looking for happiness overall,” Vallay said. “Hopefully with the upcoming lotteries, the classes will randomly change.”

“One of the keys that the [plan to redesign the MIT residence system, issued by former Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72,] mentions is the upperclass transfer lottery at the end of each semester ... [to assist] liquidity in movement,” said Vallay about her agenda for the future. “We want to remove the stigma in changing dorms.”

Undergraduates who want to apply for another dormitory apply online at < edu/rlslp/undergrad/ application.html>.