Housing Lottery Sparks Discussion
By Caitlin Scott
This is the time of year when the phones in the Residence Life office are ringing off the hook. Is it because of angry residents? Upset parents? Maybe frustrated Residence Advisors? No, people are trying to get things settled for the next year’s rooming situation.
|Every year a random number generator helps Res-Life organize housing selection by selecting who receives first pick. Is that the fairest way for students?
Rooming deposits were due March 13th. These deposited students are looking for housing on campus, with the exception of the RA staff, who already know what building they will be living.
The housing lottery numbers went up last week. With this, the lucky students with low lottery numbers rejoiced as those with high numbers looked for their roommates and suitemates numbers in hopes they were better.
But how are these numbers selected for each person? According to John “J.P” Kelliher, Associate Director of Residence Life, the numbers students receive are broken down into a few categories.
Kelliher, the face behind the lottery numbers, explained the current lottery set-up as: “taking each student who has deposited and separating them by current class standing. Current juniors and senior are lumped together, because fifth year students are still considered seniors.”
There are many misconceptions when it comes to how one gets their lottery number. Sophomore, sports and exercise science major, Christina Guay believed an individual’s lottery number was associated with how early their deposit was sent in.
Kelliher said: “Each group of individuals is organized by a ‘random number generator’ from Excel. This is an analytic tool that truly randomizes any list one designates. This allows each student in each class an equal chance at getting number one.”
But what is that number one? For rising seniors obviously the best number is one, which is owned by Kelly Weiner, Elementary Education major and Seth Conklin, Philosophy major. For rising juniors, the best lottery number for females is 101 and for males is 86. When it comes to rising sophomores the best number for females is 220 and the best for the males is 201.
First-year chemistry major, Todd Bauer believes that: “lottery numbers should go by class but within the class GPA ought to divide them. Meaning that those with the higher GPA pick before those who could be on academic probation or have a poor GPA.” In response to this, Kelliher says that the way we do it now is the preference of the student body.
Kelliher said there has always been a possibility of changing the way numbers are determined. He continued: “Some have suggested the numbers be set up by total number of credits, others on GPA, some say campus involvement, or better numbers for athletes or SGA member, but at least one person will disagree with each of these categories. Which is why randomizing the number seems to be the fairest way.”
Kelliher thinks that giving numbers by GPA and accumulated credits is an effective method, because students have complete control over their fate and they can change it from year to year. But, as for right now the student body’s preference lies with the randomizer.
The Residence Life office is in its busiest time of the year, receiving calls daily from parents who forgot to meet the depositing requirements and incoming freshmen housing requests are coming in by the day.
Kelliher ended with a note that he thought was necessary to know: “Currently nothing we do with room selection is automated. There are a lot of things that we have tried to put online as far as viewing information and such, but everything is still done individually.”
He continued, that their office’s goal for their students is to make the process easier and more intuitive by having everything available online, much like that of registering for classes, for selection, room set-up, room changes, and to meeting future roommates based on personal interest.
As for now, lottery numbers are posted on Web Advisor under a new Student Life section, following the link to ‘My Room Assignment’, then to the link ‘Lottery Number.’ And, if after reading this you need more information, there will be a first-year student housing information session held in Tocik Hall at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6th, and a general housing information session at 8:00 p.m. as well in the Residence Life Lounge on March 30.