Students gamble for new living situations in housing lottery

Illustration by Jackson Sundheim

By Gelsey Plaza

Lewis & Clark’s mid-year housing lottery took place on Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Campus Living Office Suite. According to Director of Housing and Orientation Sandi Bottemiller, there were a total of 51 students who wanted to move out of or switch rooms within their current residence hall, compared to 62 last year. The class breakdown for students who entered the lottery this year was: one senior, 10 juniors, 14 sophomores, 24 freshman and two American English Studies (AES) students.

During the lottery, students are allowed to request their top three residence halls. According to Bottemiller, some students already know where they want to live and who they want to room with. Most students want to move into Holmes, and Forest is the second most popular choice. It is common that students who have no residence hall preference hope to acquire a single.

The majority of students want to move out of Copeland. There were also quite a few students who want to move within Holmes, many of whom would like to obtain a single.

Administrative Coordinator for Campus Living Arianna Figueroa found the mid-year housing lottery to be efficient and beneficial. The process Campus Living currently enacts allows for Figueroa to speak to each lottery participant individually. She is then able to answer their questions on the spot and tease out the basis of their requests.

“We want to make sure our students are comfortable in their living situation; after all this is their home,” Figueroa said. “Hearing their concerns with their current placement first hand helps us make that happen.”

A freshman, who prefers to remain anonymous, applied for the lottery in order to obtain a single. Due to health issues, dorm life was more of a stress for them rather than a leisure.

“I felt like I was walking on eggshells in my own home,” the student said. “My roommate and I got along great, but living with other people in close proximity isn’t always easy, especially when it can compromise your health.”

They thought that the lottery system ran very smoothly, but they can see why people would want it to change.

“The idea of it being a lottery can make the process seem like a game of chance and luck, but in actuality, the Campus Living reviews every person’s application regardless of what number you draw,” the student said.

“I think the system is very fair because of every application having a chance to be evaluated and considered.”

According to Bottemiller, the mid-year housing lottery gives students an opportunity to change their living situation and explore new residence hall environments. She said that it is especially important if a student is not happy in their current living position.

“The reason that we do it is to provide options for students,” Bottemiller said. “If somebody doesn’t have a terrific roommate pairing, and it’s just not going well, we wouldn’t want them to have to stay in that situation for the entire year.”

Another first-year, who prefers to remain anonymous, applied for the lottery

because one of their close friends was in a bad living situation and they wanted to live together. Concerning the application process, they don’t like the concept of pulling a lottery number.

“The process of applying was not difficult, but to me it doesn’t make sense that your probability of getting to move depends on chance — drawing a number,” the student said. “It seems to me that they should prioritize people in very bad rooming situations.”  

In addition to students wanting to switch rooms and residence halls for the spring semester, Campus Living is also dealing with an influx of students coming in from studying abroad.

Some students are coming back from a leave of absence, while others want to move off-campus.

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