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Most Frosh Get to Move In Lottery

By Angeline Wang

Of the 152 freshmen who entered the housing adjustment lottery earlier this week, 124 were able to move, or 81.6 percent. This number is comparable to last year’s, when 134 out of 157, or 85 percent, of those entering the adjustment lottery were able to move.

This year, of the 124 freshmen who could move, 80 freshmen received their first choice dormitory, 28 received their second, 8 received their third, and 8 received their fourth. (For more statistics, see the tables on page 11.)

Predictably, a greater percentage of freshmen who received their second or third choices during the summer housing lottery entered the adjustment lottery than those who received their first choice. Thirteen percent of those who originally received their first choice entered the adjustment lottery, while approximately 35 percent of those receiving their second and third choices entered the adjustment lottery.

The most popular dormitories, based on the number of first-choice requests in the adjustment lottery, were Baker House with 34 requests, Burton-Conner with 24, and Random Hall and MacGregor House with 22 each.

East Campus had the highest number of freshmen, 32, request to move out, with Burton-Conner following with 30 requests, and New House with 25.

Last year, East Campus was the most popular dorm during the adjustment lottery, followed by Baker House and Burton-Conner. Senior House had the highest percentage of freshmen requesting a move, followed by New House and Bexley Hall.

During the summer housing lottery, Baker was the most popular dormitory with the most first choice requests, followed by MacGregor House, Burton-Conner, and Simmons Hall.

While there are currently 1,004 students that need dormitory housing in the Class of 2010, only 791 were eligible to move, according to Robin Smedick, assistant director of undergraduate housing. The remaining students were assigned to Next House and McCormick Hall, which offer Residence-Based Advising. Of the students who were eligible to move, 19.2 percent entered the adjustment lottery and 15.7 percent actually moved.

Administrators and students, including officers for the Dormitory Council, have said that the percentage of freshmen who enter the adjustment lottery each year can be used to measure the effectiveness of Campus Preview Weekend, housing materials sent to freshmen during the summer, and Residence Exploration, held during orientation.

Crowding continues

The crowding situation is “a little bit lower than last year,” according to Smedick, who predicted that there are approximately 65–70 “crowds,” or crowded rooms or spaces. But she said that she would not know the exact number of crowds until room assignment chairs from the dormitories report back to her about reassignments that were made after Wednesday night’s in-house rushes. She said that the number should decrease as reports come in. There were 71 crowds at this time last year.

At this point in the academic year, “anything under 100 is reasonable,” Smedick said, and “anything under 80 is good.” The number of crowds should decrease over time, because dormitories are still receiving cancellations. “It’s a constant process,” she said.

Each building that can accommodate crowds has fewer than 20. East Campus currently has the most crowds.

Crowding has been a long-term problem in MIT undergraduate dorms. In early 2002, Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75 pledged to eliminate crowding and was successful in achieving his goal the following academic year, when Simmons Hall opened. Crowding returned in the fall of 2003, however. Larry G. Benedict, dean for student life, also said in 2002 that crowding was not an option for the MIT housing system and has said that MIT would admit a smaller freshman class. This year, however, MIT admitted students off the waitlist, increasing the class size, for the first time since 2002. Benedict has also said that MIT would encourage more undergraduates to live in fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, as well as look into building a new dormitory to help alleviate crowding.

Currently, plans to convert Ashdown House to an undergraduate dormitory are underway, Benedict said in an interview last week. A new graduate dorm, NW35, will be built near Sidney-Pacific.

Results influenced by gender

The housing adjustment lottery allowed students to either choose to stay in the building they had been assigned to during the summer lottery or rank up to four other dorms. The Housing Office begins with a “blind run of the algorithm,” which does not take into account the gender requirements of each dorm, Smedick said. “We see where that takes us, but it normally doesn’t completely satisfy gender breakdowns. Usually it involves a little bit of tweaking.”

For dormitories that require adjustments, the algorithm will be run again with gender requirements included.

According to Smedick, a few extra spaces are held during the summer housing lottery for upperclass students who may be returning to MIT after a leave of absence. These vacancies are used in the adjustment lottery, allowing some dorms to accept more students than the number that move out.