by Jeff Frankel
The housing lottery for next year is over for standard and premium on-campus lodging, and some students are upset about the hand they were dealt.
Sophomore Paul Gasior, who originally fought against the changes to the new housing policy, was not happy having received the short end of the stick when he applied for standard housing. He ended up staying in a standard double in Olson Hall.
“When you become an upperclassman, you want to live in a better building,” he said. “You deserve something better.”
Sophomore Brett Raczynski was unsatisfied with the way the lottery numbers were given out randomly. He feels it should go by number of credits, not blind luck.
“It’s unfair because we saw people with fewer credits than us with much higher lottery numbers,” he said.
Because of this, Raczynski and his roommote have decided to move off-campus.
“We signed a four-year contract to be in a standard double,” he said. “We should not have to be in a lottery to get a standard double. It’s one of the reasons we’re moving off. We feel, as juniors, that, if we wanted, we should have a lot better chance to get premium housing.”
But then, there is junior Matt Cardia. He and his other junior roommates currently live in a New Building suite and were fortunate enough to get an apartment with a kitchen in the same residence hall next year.
“I think it was luck that we got an apartment next year,” he said. “After all, since the numbers are random, every other current junior was in the same boat. I had a pretty low number but my other three roommates had high ones.”
Earlier this semester, the University announced that housing next year would not be guaranteed, but that position was eventually reversed. Every eligible student who attended the lottery received a room, said Stephanie Polak, assistant director of Residence Life.
“Everyone showed up early for their time slot,” she said. “The Student Recreation Center lobby was literally a ‘hall of humanity.’ Someone compared it to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. People were striking deals with each other.”
Polak was referring to some students who ditched their current roommate for a better room with new roommates, leaving the original roommate in the lurch to quickly find a new one.
“There were a couple of groups who got bailed on by their applicants,” she said.
Not everyone who was entitled to an on-campus residence went to the selection, Polak said.
“Eighty students who were eligible did not show up,” she said. “We will try and reach them. We continue to make a waiting list, about 35 students, and it continues to grow everyday.”
The lottery numbers for all those applying for premium housing were combined to make the highest number. Those applying for standard housing won by the roommate who had the highest lottery number, Polak said.
“Both processes went very well,” she said. “The premium room selection was definitely more chaotic. It was much busier, crazier [and had] more action.”
But not everyone thought the lottery went smoothly, especially when it came to giving out the lottery numbers, which were assigned at random, not by merit.
“I think it was pretty bad, truthfully,” Gasior said. “The assignment of the numbers was not done fairly. It wasn’t thought out well.”
Even Polak acknowledged some shortcomings but noted it should be easier next year to get a room with the addition of the new residence hall to be built next to Poyda Hall.
“There were lots of disappointments,” she said. “We have a lot of suggestions for improvement, but next year is a whole new ballgame because we will have 150 new beds.”
Polak said 66 students voluntarily picked 22 triple rooms, and 19 other students picked “super extended rooms,” newly created rooms, such as in the pods.
“We were pretty surprised about the numbers,” she said.
Gasior is just happy he got a room assignment, despite his “terrible” lottery number of 1,403.
“I didn’t care where I lived,” he said. “I just wanted a roof over my head.”
– Additional reporting by Julia Ernst