by Katrina Avila
On Thursday, April 4, 2013, the Residence Life department at Mount Saint Mary College held its annual housing lottery. Walking in, anyone could feel the tension in the air– so abundant that a chainsaw would seem more fitting than a knife. The seniors, juniors, and sophomores were all peachy keen, most of them getting their first or second building choice, and even if they didn’t they still all got a room in the College Courts that night. The freshmen class, however, are a different story entirely.
Housing lottery can make or break the beginning of any sophomore year here at The Mount– sometimes even the whole year. The worst part? The freshmen don’t know that they run the risk of not being housed that night until a day or two before lottery. Those with high lottery numbers (this year, high was perceived as anything above 150) were told that they would possibly not get a room at Housing Lottery. The 48 to 72 hours leading up to that fateful night are filled with anxiety and anticipation unlike any other, causing the phone in the Residence Life office to ring relentlessly. The work study faced angry parents, panicked residents, and headaches caused by both parties, in the days leading up to lottery and on the night of.
Housing lottery was a rude awakening for the freshman class. They were forced to stand in line for what felt like hours (but was actually no more than an hour at the most). As they stood there, they were forced, by sheer panic and their own curiosity, to stare at two TV screens. On these screens were rough blueprints of the College Courts, that were updated in real-time as students chose their rooms out of the small selection that was left. As the tiny squares on the screen quickly turned from green to pink, indicating that they are now occupied, sounds of disappointment, anticipation, and fear could be heard throughout the lobby of Hudson Hall.
When just less than half of the freshman class were left standing in line, the rooms ran out. Cue the pandamonium. Testosterone soared, estrogen caused tears to burst through the dams, and panic attacks ran rampant. Students cried out with words of protest, mostly bashing Residence Life’s inability to “do anything right.” Many residents still don’t understand how it’s possible to promise students rooms when they don’t have enough rooms to go around.“I don’t want to have to wait to find out where I’m living next year, and I think it’s ridiculous that I have to,” says freshman resident Melissa Maini. Many students feel the same way as Maini, often joking that they’re going to live in a tent on Liberty Street. Students should not fret, however, because they will be housed before Move-In day this fall.
According to Sakac Hall Residence Director Jason Greenhouse, there are a lot of people who withdraw from housing over the summer. People transfer, fail out, drop out, or move off campus, and a decent chunk of rooms are freed up. It is well-known among the Residence Life staff that people who are housed over the summer (such as the freshmen who didn’t get rooms on lottery night) often end up in bigger and better rooms than they would have received if they had gotten the chance to participate in traditional lottery; however, this is not true in all cases.
“I’m just glad that I was able to get a room tonight,” says freshman resident Heather Attanasio. “Having to wait sucks and I lucked out.” Miss Attanasio is envied by many in her class, but her peers should not fret. They all paid their $300 housing deposit to the Finance office, so they’re guaranteed rooms on campus. Some will be exatic with the results, but others anxiously await to see what their sophomore year has in store for them. Many just can’t wait for next year’s Housing Lottery to roll around.