Due to greater numbers of students studying away and living off-campus, as well as the departure of the large class of 2000, approximately 35 rooms remained unoccupied at the end of this year’s housing draw.
Two years ago, the housing shortage in the 1998-1999 school year left 14 female students without housing. They were ultimately placed them in faculty apartments.
Further characterizing this year’s housing draw were a large number of rising seniors picking into the usually junior-filled Greylock quad and the reconversion of 14 Mission Park bedrooms into common rooms.
“It was a better room draw than we’ve had in past years,” Director of Housing Tom McEvoy said. “There was greater choice and students were well-ordered…It’s emotional, but, for the most part, students walked away happy.”
“Last year we were much tighter for rooms and needed to use 16 Mission Park living rooms and some faculty apartments,” he continued. “This year, with high study-away numbers and the large class of 2000 graduating, we were in much better shape room-wise.”
Although the 545-student Class of 2003 outnumbers the 523-member rising sophomore class and the 533-member rising senior class, the departure of 555 students from the Class of 2000 clears some space for housing. In addition, according to the Admissions Office, the incoming freshman class will be smaller, at around 528 students.
“In reviewing the current enrollment numbers this year prior to the draw, it was pretty clear we had enough beds to return the faculty apartments to faculty and go back to a more normalized situation in Mission in not using living rooms as bedrooms unless a full group wanted to fill them,” McEvoy said.
Furthermore, increased numbers of students studying away helped to open up more housing space. According to Assistant Dean of the College and Director of International Study Laura McKeon, approximately 150 students will be studying abroad next fall, 90 of whom will be away for fall semester only and 60 of whom will spend the entire year abroad.
The total number of students studying away is about 15 more than last year. Spring figures will not be available until the fall.
According to McEvoy, approximately 100 seniors will live off campus next year, up from around 80 last year.
In the senior housing pick last Monday night, 42 students picked into Bryant in the Greylock quad, which is usually filled mostly by juniors.
“The large amount of seniors in Bryant is due to the fact that there were a couple of large groups of people who could not squeeze into anywhere else,” said Dan Dickens ’01, who will live in Bryant next year. “It was a premeditated decision to all try and get into a centrally located place together, and Bryant filled those needs.”
“I was surprised that the rising seniors more or less took over all of Bryant,” said Sarah Philipp ’02, who picked into Mark Hopkins in the Greylock quad Wednesday night during the junior housing draw. “I think that because the Greylock rooms will be nicer now that they are renovated, it’s more likely that seniors with low picks will want to live there.”
Furthermore, according to McEvoy, there are open rooms in Greylock, which he considers “very unusual.”
The sophomore housing pick Thursday evening also had some unusual twists. Fourteen bedrooms, which had been common rooms before last year’s housing squeeze, were converted back into living rooms.
“I think just before room draw we decided if a group of x number of students wanted to live in Mission and to keep that group intact as one whole group, we’d let them take a common room [as a bedroom], but otherwise we wouldn’t,” McEvoy said.
“I knew before room draw that it would be very unlikely that we’d need those common rooms as bedrooms…I think we only had two situations where we had suites with a living room as a bedroom.”
According to many rising sophomores, Mission rooms and suites were not taken as rapidly as had been expected. Rising sophomores with picks up until the early 110s were able to pick into Mission this year.
“With pick 102, I was not expecting to get the room I have for next year at all, said Anne Mayall ’03, who will live in Armstrong in Mission Park next year. “I was fully expecting to be in a double in a row house, not in a suite in Mission…Based on other years, there was no way I should be living in Mission, nor should my group have been able to find a suite together.”
According to many class of 2003 members, many rising sophomores picked into Tyler Annex singles nevermind row house and Dodd doubles before many of the rooms in Mission Park were taken. Mission was, however, completely filled at the end of the housing draw.
Another issue in the housing draw was the increase in students, particularly sophomores, picking into doubles as singles.
“Some people were disturbed that people were picking into doubles [as singles],” McEvoy said. “It seems like more rising sophomores have done it [this year] more than in the past.”
According to McEvoy, a review of the housing pick process created a rule where students may only pick into doubles alone after all the singles in the house are occupied. “The committee felt it would be unfair to tell the student that they couldn’t pick into a double and would have to move to a house away from their friends,” he said.
Presently, a large number of Prospect rooms remain unoccupied, as do many doubles in some of the row houses and Fitch and a few Greylock singles.