After a low turnout in the off-campus housing lottery, this year’s on-campus housing lottery will open the fifth floor of West Hall to upperclass students. According to Lisa Rendall, director of housing operations, the change was made to ensure that all students who enter the lottery will secure a room.
The quints and quads lottery will take place on April 17, the chem-free on April 19, the triples and singles on April 23 and the doubles and open rooms on April 25. All lotteries will take place at 6 p.m. in Daggett Lounge in Thorne Hall.
In November 2017, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) capped the number of students allowed to live off campus at 185 for the following academic year, but only 167 students have been released to live off campus for the next school year.
The fifth floor of West Hall, which consists of seven two-room doubles and a proctor room, will be open in the doubles lottery. This year, about half of the rooms on the fifth floor of West are occupied by upperclass students and the other half by first years. Before the lottery last year, ResLife had planned to convert West into exclusively first-year housing, but the College needed more beds for upperclass students.
In the 2016-2017 academic year, 217 students lived off campus. In January 2017, the College capped off-campus housing at 200 students. In an email to students on Wednesday, Rendall said that students who have not currently been released to live off campus but would like to be should contact ResLife.
Citing a shift in the campus social life away from campus, the College has instituted a number of changes to reduce the number of students living off campus. A working group formed in February 2017 recommended the current off-campus housing caps. In addition, Ladd House will be populated with only seniors next year, after being a majority sophomore space since becoming a College House.
The College also plans to construct new upperclass apartments and convert Boody-Johnson House into a new College House for fall 2019. These two new additions to the campus housing options will house approximately 110 students in total.
Bowdoin is not the only institution attempting to refine its off-campus housing policies. Colby will open new apartments in downtown Waterville this fall, adding approximately 200 beds. It will also ban students from living off-campus, according to the Colby Echo.
“I think we will eventually get to a point where the cap is lower than 185 as we build new housing, but I do not expect to totally dissolve off-campus housing,” said Rendall.
Last year, ResLife converted the one-bedroom triples in Brunswick Apartments into doubles. Rendall cited a preference for opening up the fifth floor of West Hall rather than creating additional forced triples in Brunswick Apartments.
However, the changes may create forced quints in certain first-year bricks.
“The goal is for that not to happen, [but] it all depends on the size of the first-year class,” said Rendall.