The room selection lottery is a numbers game at best. But those who choose to room with someone younger than themselves immediately lose their lottery number and are lowered to the bottom of their class. Unfair as it may seem, it is necessary.
A few years ago, Carolyn Bigler, associate director of undergraduate housing, said the process was run differently. If an underclassman wanted to room with a senior, they would automatically be given the senior's number. Only when people started complaining were things changed.
"It wasn't fair before," Bigler said.
Bigler, who has worked in the housing office for more than 10 years said after thinking about student complaints, changes were made.
For example, for a double, two seniors get first pick; one senior and one junior will be next on the list followed by a senior and a sophomore. All of the information pertaining to housing is available on the website.
"Any way you do it, someone is going to be unhappy," Bigler said. "We do the best that we can to listen to what the students are saying."
Senior Natalie Lewis understood this process very well, as she roomed with someone younger than she for two years.
"From the school's standpoint, it is fair how housing is run, but for anyone in the situation, it seems unfair," she said. "But, it would ultimately be wrong if they jumped up to the senior status."
Lewis said that it was different when you were the one who was in that situation and had to be lowered on the list, but it also showed the importance of that friendship.
"It emphasizes your friendship with that person and that you would sacrifice your number in order to live with them," she said. "I don't regret giving up my number at all."
Contact reporter Charlotte Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org