Housing announces changes before lottery

By Margaret Ryznar

Students anxiously waiting to see where they will place in the housing lottery will return next fall to several changes in the system, including the reopening of Breckenridge House and the discontinuation of one of the freshman meal plans.

According to Cheryl Gutman, deputy dean of students for housing and dining, her office will discontinue the Freshman Meal Plan B, which allows students fewer assigned meals and gives them the freedom of more Flex Dollars than Freshman Plan A.

The housing office will reopen Breckenridge House and expects the residence hall to be popular dorm option.

“We got a huge response,” said Katie Callow-Wright, director of the University Housing System. “This past Saturday on the housing tour, many of the students liked the layout, the common areas, and the rooms. The former residents of the dorm did a great job raising people’s interest.”

Breckenridge is expected to remain open for only the next few years, until a new dormitory can be built to accommodate the rising interest in on-campus housing and the increasing number of incoming freshmen, said Gutman.

Because many undergraduates are undecided as to whether or not they will remain on campus next year, the exact number of participants in this year’s lottery is currently unknown. A similar factor that complicates housing plans for graduating students is the issue of whether they will complete their studies and be able to graduate in June.

There have not been any changes to the gender composition of houses or smoking rules since last year.

Though the ranking assignments of the thousands participating in the lottery are spread over the entire residence system, many students are concerned with their lottery numbers. The fear of a poor ranking is especially acute among first-years in the College.

“My worry is…I think my lottery number is too low ,” said Carolyn Silveira, a first-year in the College.

Because “squatting rights,” or the privilege of keeping one’s room for the next year, have been eliminated by the housing system, another fear is that the best rooms in housing will go to students “pulled in” from other houses.

Under the current housing system, one can get a room alone and then add roommates that are foreign to the house. According to Patrick Walsh, a first-year in the College, the ability to displace those already established in a specific house could turn out to be unfair.

“There’s potential that this could turn into a big disaster,” Walsh said.

But for some houses, the lottery is less of an issue. According to Kriszty Fehervary, resident head of Salisbury House, the second smallest house in the system, most students get the rooms they want.

“It’s a very simple process for our house,” she said.

The University housing office has made slight changes to streamline the lottery process. Last year, for example, the office decided to make it mandatory that students hand in their green cards, essentially the housing contracts, during the night of the lottery. Previously, it had been due two weeks after the lottery, increasing the chances that people would reserve rooms during the lottery without commitment.

“We’re always tweaking the system to make it more efficient,” Callow-Wright said.

The housing office has made additional changes to the meal plan this year to increase the efficiency in that area as well.

Under the new Bartlett Minimum Plan, Stony Island, Blackstone, and Snell-Hitchcock non-freshman residents will have more dining points and fewer Flex Dollars.

“We also decided to change the hours of operation at Bartlett,” Gutman said.

“Dinner used to be served until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 7:00 p.m. Sunday. We’ve changed it so that next year dinner will be served until 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 7:00 p.m. on Friday.”

The intra-dorm lottery for Burton-Judson Court, Broadview Hall, and Snell-Hitchcock Halls will be held on Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. Pierce Hall, Shoreland Hall and the Max Palevsky Residential Common’s intra-dorm lottery will take place on Monday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The inter-dorm lottery will occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday May 13, 14, and 15 at 8 p.m.