The fate of numerous friendships and quite a few relationships at UR rests on one inevitable event every spring semester: the housing lottery.
Those with a wonderful slot come out on top, with the best suites and singles; those with decent slots survive; and the rest get the most abominable slots. Those souls are either saved by their social allegiance with the luckier ones, or perish in the basement rooms of some long-forgotten building on the Residential Quad.
It’s as fair as a housing system can get, they say, but is it so necessary for it to be this acrimonious? I’ve seen countless Yellowjackets get more stressed about that one 15-minute experience in April than they are for any of their midterms. The housing lottery is an arduous, emotionally taxing, and needlessly stressful system.
With nothing but luck determining the fate of someone’s housing for an entire academic year, countless people end up in situations that they absolutely cannot tolerate. And this suffering happens for no reason at all. It’s very obvious that campus has abundant housing options to choose from — from apartments and suites to singles and doubles — and an equally diverse student body. There are people who would love to live in a single on the Quad and end up stuck with a random suite in Phase with people they don’t know, just because they had a bad slot. On the other hand, there are those groups of friends who’d absolutely adore a suite in Phase, but are stuck with doubles in Lovejoy because they had — you guessed it! — a bad slot.
Why can’t we have a simple system where we fill out our top five to 10 choices, and an elegant algorithm does the math for all of the undergraduates on campus? Why can’t we designate our desired living style and only compete against students who are also looking to occupy that dorm style? What I’m suggesting definitely isn’t science fiction anymore — just ask all the Computer Science students that graduate from UR every year.
The ResLife office has one of the toughest jobs on campus, and I know they’re doing the best they can. The only issue is that they’re using a system that’s outdated and not fit for the ever-growing undergraduate class size. They have an insurmountable number of dissatisfied students and room change requests that sound like a Herculean task.
It’s high time that the University changes its way to deal with student housing. Most of us have no option but to live on campus, and the stress that comes with it simply isn’t worth it. Administration recently did a great job implementing UR Student for course registration. I, for one, think course registration is much easier now than it was before, and I’m sure they can come up with something similar for housing, too.
In the meantime, Yellowjackets, may the odds be ever in your favor. The housing Hunger Games is upon us!