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One in 400: the housing lottery sparks annual debate

Every spring, freshmen, sophomore and junior students gather in the Carey Center to choose a housing lottery ticket from their assigned bucket. Several students, as well as residence life, gave their input on the housing procedure.

Taylor Hanson, senior biology major, believes that housing on campus is generally alright. She said, however, that there could also be improvements in making it easier such as ensuring that the actual housing selection is more streamlined.

“It is very time-consuming and stressful to sit in the gym for hours hoping that your number is called,” Hanson said, mentioning that it is also hard to hear in the gym, which does not aid the situation.

Bob Baum, dean of students, said when he first began his job, he also did not like the housing event.

“But it’s grown on me over the years in the sense that if there’s one thing people talk about a lot when they come to Saint Vincent, it’s community,”

Baum said. “And nothing speaks better than pushing everybody into the gymnasium and have them hang out together for a couple hours.”

Hanson expressed her belief that some part of the system should be automated and suggested doing so to the assignation of random numbers, adding that it would eliminate the time needed to physically pull a number as well as the often-used strategy of waiting for the “best” time to pull one so as to lessen the chance of receiving numbers deemed too high.

“I think the whole process should be made clearer for freshmen especially,” Hanson said, stating that she had known people who pulled high numbers their freshman year and found the selection to be very stressful.

Baum explained that residence life has looked into using other technology for housing, but most of the programs are expensive.

“We always end up back where we’re at with the way the housing selection is done,” he said.

Hanson also reflected on her own respective freshman year, in particular, saying that, in addition to stress, she remembered that it involved large amounts of misinformation.

However, some students have the opposite opinion.

Robert Howard, senior mathematics major, finds the current housing system to be imperfect due to an overreliance on luck, but he also thinks it is the best and fairest option possible, due to its “first come, first served” basis.

Howard believes that the desire to update the system to a more electronic version is unwise.

“That is honestly just asking for trouble,” he said.

Howard elaborated he finds it unlikely that the Saint Vincent College servers could handle such an excessive amount of people on the portal at one time, mentioning that the portal is already crowded enough when the yearly class registration occurs.

Baum recognized that although there are some complaints about housing, others, such as Howard, don’t mind the process.

“I have gotten a lot of feedback from students that love the idea of going to pick up their ticket, signing their name on the dotted line so to speak, they like that process, that tangibility of signing up for their apartment or room. So, I think I really depends on who you talk to,” Baum said.

Howard also believes the only unacceptable aspect of the system is that some people are unable to receive a room at all, due to a lack of availability, which, he said, should not happen.

“The school should keep into account how many rooms there are when they accept students in order to avoid this mistake,” Howard said.

During his sophomore year, Howard received the ticket number 347.

While he acknowledges that the ticket number was undesirable, Howard also emphasizes that it was simply the way the process worked.

“I had some friends who didn’t get any rooms at all, though, which is why I’m so passionate about the issue,” Howard said.


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