Luck of the Draw

Mark Fuller

On Wednesday, February 9, the mailroom at the O’Connor Campus Center will become a madhouse filled with a hectic menagerie of eager faces, trembling fingers and loud shrieks of joy and despair. It is lottery number time again at Colgate, as the whole campus awaits the numbers that will secure those dream suites, houses, or apartments. In addition, students will receive an application form for campus residence. Over the next weeks, students must determine where and with whom they would like to live for 2005-06. The lottery numbers, randomly generated by a computer system, from one to the total number of students in their class, offer those with the lowest numbers -and their prospective roommates – first pick of housing until lottery number 700-something finds a place to live. The system of room selection works from the top down, considering first seniority and then lottery numbers. Juniors and seniors will have their choice of College Houses, Greek Houses, University Apartments, Town Houses and (for seniors) Off-Campus Housing. Incoming sophomores will have their choice of room or suite in Cutten, Bryan Complex, Drake, Curtis or certain College Houses. There will, however, be some important changes. The application process for the class of 2008 will work the same as it has for past classes, with one small difference. “We were very happy with room selection last year,” Assistant Director of Residential Education and Broad Street Program Coordinator Joe Leo. “But this year we’re going towards a more application-based housing process.” This year, a greater emphasis will be placed on making sure students get to live with or near their friends. Under the old system, if four sophomores who applied for a suite were denied, they may have been forced to split up into two random doubles in different parts of Drake. This year, if the four could not get into a suite, they could simply sign up for two adjacent doubles and be next-door neighbors. “We are stressing the ‘who’ instead of the ‘where’,” Leo said. “Putting those names on the application makes sure every effort will be made to keep people together.” Another new development in the world of Colgate campus housing is the appearance of the new townhouses, which are scheduled to be completed in August, just in time for their first occupants. There are seven buildings, each with two townhouse ‘units’. These units, potentially the nicest housing the school has to offer, will be two stories high and hold 12 to 16 people. Each luxurious unit will have four bedrooms and a common room on each floor. The first floor will include a kitchen, dining room, living room, foyer, and French doors that will open up onto a back porch. “We’re looking to get some of our best students – in terms of their commitment – into the townhouses,” Leo said. Groups of students, from 12 to 16 members, will have the opportunity to apply for a townhouse. The applications will be reviewed by the same committee made up of faculty and staff that oversees the applications for all College Houses. To receive approval, each would-be group of occupants must rally around a certain theme or interest and show a clear commitment to townhouse living. This process will be very similar to the application for special interest College Houses -for instance, the French-Italian House – with the exception that no individual applications will be considered for the townhouse units. “Seniors and juniors will get priority,” Leo said, “but we are not discouraging sophomore application.” Further information on the new houses and application process will come in the form of a brochure, to be distributed in mailboxes by early next week. The final difference in this spring’s house/room selection process will be the format of Room Selection itself. In past years, Room Selection has been a massive, one-day and somewhat chaotic event. This year, the process will stretch over the first two weeks of April, in which Leo will meet with students group by group and number by number to discuss, in a personal and more comfortable setting, their housing for 2005-06. In this way, the traditionally terrifying experience will become much friendlier and straightforward. As it stands, the Colgate community is looking at a much calmer season of housing selection. Residential Education Office will be mailing out a comprehensive brochure explaining the entire process of room selection and holding information sessions on February 17th in Love Auditorium at 7:00 (for Class of 2008) and 8:00 (for 2006 and 2007). After numbers and applications are released next Wednesday, those applying for theme/group housing – including townhouses – will have until March 11 to submit their forms and present their applications. Groups will be notified by April 1, just in time for general room selection to take place. The rest of the student body will receive notification by April 15. Ultimately, the new townhouses, modified room selection and new emphasis on sticking with friends will refresh this sometimes daunting process. With so much going on with the residential situation on campus, one wonders about some of Colgate’s older housing situations. ” ‘Gate House will be open for a minimum of one more year,” Leo said.