Lottery approaches, process still unclear

Although some details of a potential plan for the housing lottery were discussed at the Student Senate’s meeting last week, the selection process for the housing lotteries still has not been finalized, according to Vice President for Student Life Eddie Ade Knowles.

“Nothing has been finalized,” said Knowles, “and we are continuing to have iterative discussions about how to best implement the initiative.” As of now, the administration is working on figuring out how to cluster the residence halls in the next academic year, and then how best to cluster them in the future after next year’s first run at the Clustered Learning Advocacy and Support for Students initiative. With the selection of three out of the four assistant deans of residential commons this semester, the questions that Residence Life now will have to answer are what groups of residence halls each dean will oversee and what the theme for each residence hall cluster will be.

“These clusters will really wind up being smaller communities within the grand scheme of CLASS,” said Knowles. He went on to describe how Polytech Apartments and Blitman Commons were designed and planned to be special communities for upperclassmen and that programs would be geared specifically toward older students, inviting those who truly intended to take advantage of the programs and what the residence halls each have to offer. Knowles also noted that the Student Life team is getting closer to deciding on themes for those two residence halls.

According to Knowles, sophomores will be first in line regardless of the plan for the new housing lottery process due to the Sophomore Year Experience. This will require all sophomores to live on campus or in greek houses that have signed onto the Greek Commons Agreement, which is now being discussed and reviewed within the greek community.

The process is expected to be finalized before the semester comes to a close and the administration is aiming to move the process up as much as possible. “We are really driving to get it done,” said Knowles.

He continued, “The searches [for assistant deans of residential commons] were a big part of how to do this, and we want to make sure we do everything right the first time. It’s an exciting process of creating a new paradigm of the residential commons and implementing a creative and new initiative.”

At the Senate meeting last week, Acting Vice President for Residence Life Tom Tarantelli presented an initial idea of how the housing selection process may work, though the plan is not the finalized one. Tarantelli cited Polytech Apartments, Blitman Commons, North Hall, and E-Complex as the upperclassman residence halls for next year in this initial plan and said that, if finalized, such a process would involve a series of lotteries and students currently living in the four buildings slated for upperclassman would be able to squat for next year. Upperclassmen would be able to participate in a lottery for unsquatted rooms in these halls. In this plan, sophomores would get first pick of the residence halls set aside to be part of the Sophomore Year Experience and then upperclassmen would be able to take beds left after that lottery.

The administration is still looking at how they can effectively ensure that students do not meet a financial burden because of the new plan or get locked out of housing, if possible to avoid it. Questions are still being circulated and discussed on how to work with existing theme housing like Ground Zero and the Warren Community, as well as issues like required meal plans or how to work with upperclassmen who have housing grants.