The Housing Lottery opened on Monday with several changes in housing options for the 2017-2018 academic year. Cleaveland Street Apartments will no longer be offered as student housing; one-bedroom triples in Brunswick Apartments will revert back to doubles and the fifth floors of Osher and West Halls will no longer be available to upperclassmen in order to eliminate quints in the first-year bricks.
The College was able to reduce the number of beds available through the lottery because of the new off-campus housing policy, which caps the number of students living off-campus to 200. Because students who will live off campus were required to register with the College, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) can plan out the exact number of beds that students will seek in the lottery.
Cleaveland Street Apartments, a three-story building that houses 14 students in triples and quads, will not be a part of the Housing Lottery. Director of Housing Operations Lisa Rendall said the apartments were removed because they are old and expensive.
“As we start looking to our residential future and looking at the money we are putting into our spaces, and some of our spaces are older than others, given the number of students—not very many live at Cleaveland Street—it just made sense to take that building offline,” Rendall said.
Ben Troen ’17, a current resident of Cleaveland Street Apartments, agreed with the decision to take the apartments off the lottery. While the location and amenities made Cleaveland Street desirable to him and his roommates, they have since encountered an ant infestation, a mice problem and plumbing issues.
“The place is kind of falling apart. It’s grimy, which we didn’t really know going in. Then we had all these other issues, [that] … have certainly put a damper on my and my roommate’s situation,” Troen said. “It’s an old dorm and I think we stand by the decision of the College to not put other students through what I experienced.”
A second major change is that the one-bedroom triples in Brunswick Apartments will be reverted back to doubles. The new configuration means that nine full apartment complexes will be entirely made up of double apartments, allowing eight students to block together within the same building.
Several students agreed with ResLife’s decision to revert the forced triples to double apartments.
“I think it’s a great idea to change Brunswick because that [would be] definitely a tough living situation,” said Kinaya Hassane ’19.
The fifth floors of Osher and West Halls, previously available for upperclassmen housing, will revert back to first-year housing. This change will eliminate first-year quints and allow for the eight bricks to be made up exclusively of first years.
Sadie Saxton ’20, who lives in a first-year quint, said she did not mind her living arrangements and did not believe the removal of quints will have a large impact on next year’s first years.
“I do think there are some quints that have a lot of conflict with spatial issues or cleanliness which can cause a lot of problems. But I don’t necessarily think those things won’t happen in quads,” Saxton said.
However, Saxton thought removing quints would make housing more fair.
“It definitely was a little bit frustrating to hear that there were rooms with three people in a quad and we were all crammed in the same space with two more people than they had. So I guess it would be nice to avoid that situation,” she said.
“For West and Osher it makes sense that upperclassmen aren’t living in those buildings anymore,” said Ryan Sanborn ’18. “[I]t doesn’t make sense for upperclassmen to be living on the top floor of a first-year brick.”
Some students expressed concerns about the effects of the reduced spaces on students’ lottery chances to live in their desired rooms.
“I think it will be more of a competitive process for housing and for everyone to get into their top choices,” said Swapnika Mallipeddi ’19.
The lottery will also not include the Leap of Faith option, in which ResLife paired roommates together, using a method similar to matching first-year roommates.
Two years ago, when Leap of Faith was introduced, not many people signed up.
“Even though we made it work, I feel like we didn’t have a big enough pool to do the matching that we said we really wanted to do for people. I think that turned into some unsatisfying housing. I think for some, they really enjoyed it and it was a good match, but for others it wasn’t what they were looking for or hoping for,” Rendall said.
To fix this issue, last year ResLife set a bar for the minimum number of students to sign up at 50 in order for Leap of Faith housing to proceed. According to Rendall, ResLife did not come close to this minimum requirement and decided Leap of Faith was not popular enough of an option to justify its continuance.
In a pilot program, ResLife will also be focusing more on the “sophomore experience” at Stowe Hall, Howard Hall and Pine Street apartments, all predominantly sophomore housing spaces, with the goal of building a sense of community for sophomores outside of the College Houses.
“I am hopeful that that is going to be something that will be more robust as the years go on,” Rendall said.
The first housing lottery will take place on Monday, April 17.