Students are anxiously preparing for the housing lottery to learn their placements for next year. The annual event, to be held for dorms today, has students scrambling to find rooms or to make plans with roommates with higher lottery numbers.
Those without backup plans or good connections may find themselves in a closet-sized double, while most of those who do not participate in this annual tradition have already found a new home in an off-campus apartment for fall 2004.
There is no method for determining demand before the lottery is conducted, as Housing does not ask for a commitment to return to the dorms until someone gets to pick a room. Still, the rate of return has been consistent for the past few years, according to Katie Callow-Wright, associate dean of students in the University and director of Undergraduate Student Housing. Callow-Wright estimates that approximately 55 percent of undergraduates already in housing will remain in housing, as was the case last year. She also alluded to the fact that dorms like Max Palevsky, built as a hub for first-year students, and Snell-Hitchcock will likely attract more upperclassmen than they can retain.
"One program that we have supported the past few years is the IHC dorm tourwhich my office assists in publicizing, arranging access, and providing transportationto give folks who will have to move or want to move to a different building an opportunity to learn about the dorms that typically have space available in the general lotteries," Callow-Wright said. "This program arose out of the need to give students who leave Max Palevsky better information to make their decision about where to move."
Cheryl Gutman, the deputy dean of students for housing, said that the higher demand for certain dorms cannot be solved until the construction of another on-campus dorm as an alternative to off-campus dorms, like Broadview and Maclean.
"The relocation of the beds that first years take up in the Shoreland (usually about 220-250) to the center of campus will enable us to spread the distribution of each class over almost the entirety of the system, creating more balance from dorm to dorm," Gutman said, alluding to the proposed dorm south of the Midway. "The ideal situation would be to have that same distribution in every dorm or at least closer than the 70 percent new-30 percent returning that we are forced to have in Max P. currently. This is what the benefit of new beds closer to campus would be."
While some undergraduates have not cemented living quarters for next year, many have already formulated deals with other students for bigger and better rooms. Jessica Wolman, a first-year in the College and resident of Flint House in Max Central, is planning to stay in Flint House with an upperclassman who is pulling her into a double.
"I'm moving back into Max because it's convenient and I get a single bedroom," Wolman said. "I did want to get an apartment, but I couldn't find enough people to get it with me for financial reasons." Wolman went on to say that she does expect to get an apartment by her third year.
Megan Myrick, a first-year in the College and a resident of the Shoreland, already got the jump on Wolman by leasing an apartment on Ingleside with a friend. Myrick thought the benefits of living in an apartment outweighed the benefits of the dorms when she considered personal space, independence, and maintenance costs.
"For first-years, living in the dorms can be a great way to meet people," Myrick said.
"Max P. may be pretty well kept, but after the first year, the dormitory experience seems unnecessary. I want a place that I can make feel like a home, and I just don't get the feeling of home in the dorms. In an apartment, I will have more control over my own space, and I will not be forced into purchasing a ridiculous meal plan."
Sam Altschul, also a first-year Shoreland resident, said he wouldn't think twice about leaving the Shoreland next year. If his plans go well, Altschul will obtain a quad in Hale house with three of his friends facing the lake.
"Why do I want to stay in the Shoreland?" Altschul said. "Because I have a ninth floor view of Lake Michigan and a bridge of light shining through the view. I love my RAs, and I enjoying walking to the Shoreland in the spring, seeing the trees blossom and the birds singing."
Altschul criticized the housing office's proposal to move students closer to campus via the proposed dorm near B-J, calling the plan "idiotic" and saying it will drive more students to take apartments.
K&G Building Management, the company that owns and administers many student apartments, said that they have not seen an increase or decrease in students leasing their buildings this year.
Students unsatisfied with their house lottery picks can try for the Intra-Dorm lotteries to get a better room. The Intra-Dorm lottery for Burton-Judson, Broadview, and Snell-Hitchcock is at 7:30 p.m. on May 5; the Intra-Dorm lottery for Pierce, Shoreland and Max P. is at 7:30 p.m. on May 6. The general lottery for the entire housing system is next week, from May 11-13.