Housing or no housing?

As the spring semester inches toward the halfway mark, the time has come for students to begin preparing for next year’s housing assignments.

In the middle of February, the lottery process will begin for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Freshmen are guaranteed housing for the coming year, but upperclassmen must face the fact

that there is only a certain number of rooms available for them.

A number of steps encompass the process of getting housing on campus. First, the student must pay a deposit for housing.

Following this, he or she will sign a contract guaranteeing residency on campus for the coming year. The student will then be assigned a lottery number and can sign up for a room at a specified hour.

A computer program randomly assigns the lottery numbers by class and gender. The actual lottery usually takes place during the first two weeks in April.

In projecting how many spaces are needed for sophomore housing, and thus how high the lottery should go, Residence Life looks at previous retention rates of freshmen.

To accommodate more people, a first lottery is performed followed by a second after it is determined how many spots remain.

As of now, there are about 500 spots open for junior and senior housing.

Although these may not seem like promising odds, John Stafford, director of residence life, encourages everyone who wants to try for housing this year to do so. In the Fall 2004 semester, the new apartments will open, ensuring more available spots for students.

“We will have more beds for upperclassmen on campus than usual,” he said.

Similarly, he said that most wait-listed people usually get housing.

For students who fear they will not be among the 500 receiving housing, there are different opportunities on campus that

provide guaranteed housing. Such organizations are those that contribute some kind of service to the students. These include managerial positions, Residence Hall Association (RHA) members, ambassadors, as well as board members of certain clubs.

These students are put to the top of the list in the lottery and definitely receive housing.

Each year, the Lion’s Athletic Pride holds a raffle for the lottery, allowing students the chance to win high lottery numbers and therefore have earlier opportunities and more choices when signing up for housing.

“The Athletic Department donates a housing slot to (the Lion’s Athletic Pride) as the prize and they conduct the raffle in an attempt to get more students out to different athletic events,” Kevin McHugh, director of athletics, said.

Diane Yee, president of the Lion’s Athletic Pride, said that during four different sporting events, tickets are raffled off.

At the first two athletic events, swimming on Jan. 28 and women’s basketball on Feb. 7, three tickets were given out to each attendee.

Two tickets were handed out to each student in attendance at a wrestling match on Feb. 8 and one ticket will be provided for every person at the men’s basketball game on Feb. 14. The raffle will be held at the end of that game.

Stafford puts great emphasis on the fact that no exceptions can be made for students who do not turn their deposits in on time. “The big thing for students is when the information comes out, pay attention,” he said.

This year, Stafford hopes to put together some groups to discuss the lottery process and determine if any changes need to be made.

This way, students can give feedback on the level of ease with which the lottery is handled.

“It’s (the student’s) lottery, we just run it,” he said.