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More Freshmen Request Move in Lottery

By Marissa Vogt


One in five freshmen requested a move in this year’s adjustment lottery, up from one in seven last year. Of the 1022 freshmen, 200 requested a change and 110 were able to move.

Denise A. Vallay, assistant director for undergraduate housing, said that she believes that a higher percentage of freshmen entered the lottery this year because its purpose was better explained to the freshmen.

“It was advertised more and encouraged more,” Vallay said. “At East Campus in particular, the parties were encouraging people to explore and take a look around.”

Overall participation in the lottery was down from last year, when responses were received from 80 percent of the class, including those who were requesting to stay in their assigned dormitory. This year, 706 freshmen, or 70 percent of the class, responded in the lottery.

“We tried to make it as mandatory as possible,” said Anthony E. Gray PhD ’01, project director for graduate housing and a consultant for this year’s lottery. “Nearly half the class went there just to request to stay.”

The dormitories with the highest percentage of assigned students requesting a move were Senior House (66 percent), East Campus (44 percent), and New House (40 percent). No students requested moves from McCormick, which participates in residence based advising, Chocolate City, or Spanish House.

MacGregor received the highest number of first choice preferences, followed by Simmons and Baker House.

Four dormitories remain crowded

Baker House, East Campus, Burton-Conner, and New House are still crowded, as they have approximately the same number of freshmen as they did before the lottery was run. All of the other dormitories except Senior House are at capacity, Vallay said.

“I had really hoped that crowding would mean that more and more people would enter the lottery,” Gray said.

Both Gray and Vallay say that they think crowding will settle down over the next few weeks, as upperclassmen change their housing plans and move into fraternities, sororities and independent living groups.

“People are always cancelling their housing,” Vallay said. “Many of the dormitories that are crowded right now will not stay crowded for long.”

55 percent of frosh reassigned

Gray said that they ran the lottery using two algorithms, then chose the results that would maximize the number of students they were able to move.

Despite those efforts, only 55 percent of freshmen requesting a move were reassigned, compared to 60 percent last year.

“With so many people indicating preferences for places like Baker, Simmons, or MacGregor and so many people leaving places like East Campus and Senior House, it’s difficult to move anybody,” Gray said.

One of the changes they made to the lottery this year was to add the option of listing a fourth choice dormitory.

Vallay said that they hoped freshmen would take advantage of all four choices because it would maximize their chances of being reassigned.

Listing only one preference “really does hurt everybody’s chances to move,” Gray said.

Listing four choices, Vallay said, represented the most discontent, whereas having one preference gave the message that the students were “reasonably happy where they are now but would maybe be happier living somewhere else.”

Only 33 percent of students requesting a move listed four dormitories as choices, though 37.5 percent listed only one preference. One third of the students listing one preference were able to be reassigned, compared to 83 percent of those listing four preferences.

Vallay said that freshmen who were not reassigned will be added to a list along with upperclassmen, and reassignments will be made as spaces become available.

Freshmen participate in hall rush

After receiving their new dormitory assignments, freshmen began participating in in-dorm rush last night to select their rooms and roommates.

Upperclassmen spent the night explaining the unique personality of their floor, hall, or entry to the freshmen.

The freshmen “want to know what rooms they’ll live in and the style of the floor,” said Shuonan Dong ’05, who was helping with Burton-Conner in-dorm rush.

The idea is to explore the different sections of the dormitory and “try to get onto a floor where you think you’d enjoy yourself the best,” said Petar D. Simich ’04, the room assignment chair for Random hall.

“Once they’re assigned here they show up to a quick meeting and we split them off” to explore the dormitory in groups, Simich said.

They then “run a good old-fashioned lottery-type deal where they pick a number out of a hat, and that number designates a priority” in choosing a room, he said.

Freshmen in Baker House were treated to a spaghetti dinner and then selected their preferences for room types.

Because freshmen are not allowed to squat their rooms in Burton-Conner, in-dorm rush forces them to explore all of the halls and rank them in order of preference.

“I really wish we could squat our rooms,” said Ruth F. Miller ’07. “I’m taking [in-dorm rush] seriously because I’m scared I might not get the room I wanted, so I’m really rushing my second through ninth choices.”

Freshmen will be moving out of their temporary housing tomorrow and into their permanent rooms.

Housing Lottery Preferences by Dormitory