Waterbury renovations shift housing process; affect The Village lottery

Students seem to be more overwhelmed with potential future living arrangements after this semester’s housing process. The closing of Waterbury Hall at the end of next fall semester has caused a shift in residential housing. Yet it is up to students to be more informed about the resident housing process.

“The main goal is to provide an educational living experience for students, it is purposeful education,” Marie Driscoll, associate director of the department of Residence Life and Housing said. “We want people to live with roommates, although sometimes it is not easy, we want students to interact with people and get more connected to the campus.”

According to Residence Life and Housing, housing applications for the following semester is based on a student’s lottery number and time in which a student chooses to apply to their desired housing. The initial step that a student must complete in order to properly apply to housing is to sign the room and board agreement form and to pay the deposit for housing on time. After this is complete, students must match with their roommates or choose to have a random roommate. Students are then assigned a lottery number that determines what time they can apply to their desired housing options.

Despite what students may think, the lottery number is not based solely on credits but on a student’s class year, which is therefore based on the number of credits a student has toward their degree. This information is provided by the registrar’s office and is given to Residence Life and Housing online from the Campus Information Center. After this is taken into consideration, students in the same category are given lottery numbers by the computer randomly. This lottery number determines what time students can apply for housing.

This selection is made in correspondence with the room selection timeline provided by Residence Life. The room selections for The Village are the first lottery on the timeline, followed by Onondaga suites, in-hall selections and hall changes. The chances of getting into a different resident hall are not only determined by a student’s lottery number but also the amount of other students applying for the same resident hall.

“In the room selection process, the priorities are to best accommodate students returning to their building if they want to, being able to request specific roommates if they choose and getting fair seniority in choosing what is available,” Driscoll said.

Because The Village has an apartment set up and students must be eligible to live there, this system is set up into four lotteries: squatter, resident, majority and general lottery. The squatter, resident and majority lottery applies to the students who are already residents in The Village and guarantees them acceptance into The Village for the following semesters. Yet for the students in the general lottery who haven’t previously lived in The Village, they are less likely to get into this type of housing. Like the rest of the residential halls, these lotteries are based on a person’s lottery number. Although in order to be eligible to live in The Village, students must have at least an academic junior standing and students must have lived on campus for three regular academic semesters. This has changed from previous years. In the past, students had to live on campus for four regular academic semesters. The Village can hold 348 residents in the 64 available apartments, but because Waterbury Hall is closing at the end of next fall semester, more people are applying for The Village this semester and therefore more than 100 students are unable to get into that desired housing selection.

Because of the renovations, Waterbury Hall and its residents for this semester are given a higher priority lottery number. Once Waterbury Hall is renovated, those residents will have top priority to re-enter the hall in fall 2015.

This semester, more students have been disappointed with the outcome of their housing options. Driscoll recommends that students become more active in ensuring a better chance for success in future housing selections.

“For the student disappointed with housing, the first thing to do is to email our department if they have a specific question or feedback,” Driscoll said. “We would always like to hear what students have to say and will be willing to meet with them. Although for the future housing selection process, I would strongly recommend students to read, ask questions and look for information.”

Throughout the years, the system in which students applied for housing has changed. The last year the Resident Life department met with students in person in order to discuss their housing arrangements was 2009, but since then the process is now completely online. Although now, Residence Life and Housing has made it one of its goals for next semester to establish better communication with residents and their desired housing.

“The goal is to improve it so that it is easier for student to understand the process,” Driscoll said.