Before the lottery, students seem unlikely to change housing patterns

It appears that this year’s housing picks will follow the same trends as in the past, despite circulating rumors that construction in Mission Park and the Greylock Quad could affect the draw.

Students in this year’s first year and sophomore classes seem much more concerned with living near friends than with the changes that will be occurring in those two areas. So far, most students say they are determined to pick into the dorms that they would have chosen had construction not been going on and they plan to the make the best of their living situations regardless of conditions. As a result, fears that class year distribution among the dorms could be significantly skewed, including speculation that rising juniors might choose to live in Mission, forcing rising sophomores into Greylock, appear for the most part to be unfounded.

But construction near the Greylock Quad could still influence some housing decisions. Many members of this year’s sophomore class worry that the construction will create noise and hassle if they choose to pick into this area for next year. Just as Mission has customarily accommodated sophomores, students have traditionally viewed Greylock as home to mostly juniors and as a step up from Mission.

Many of this year’s sophomores seem willing to live near the construction in order to be in Greylock with their friends. Scott Pierce ’05 articulated the sentiments of many sophomores: “I’m concerned about the construction in Greylock, but not enough to prevent me from happily finding a room there,” he said.

Sophomores who are worried about living near the construction have expressed interest in both the Berkshire Quad and Mission. Improvements to Mission this summer, which will include expansion of common spaces and cable access, could make living in that dorm an even more attractive option. Jeffrey Dougherty ’05 is one sophomore who is concerned with the construction. “I’m hoping to live somewhere in the Odd Quad next year, hopefully in Prospect,” he said. “The construction in Greylock has definitely influenced my decision – if it came down to living in Greylock or Mission next year, I very well might decide to pick into Mission rather than live in a construction zone all year.”

While the question has been raised over whether or not more rising juniors might choose to live in Mission next year, most say that they would rather suffer through the construction than live there again. “I absolutely refuse to live in Mission again; I don’t care how nice it is,” Scott Moskowitz ’05 said.

When asked about dorm preferences for next year, most members of this year’s first year class expressed a wish to pick rooms near those of their friends. For the majority, this means picking into Mission, a dorm that many students find attractive because of the large number of sophomores who traditionally choose to live there. “I want to live in Mission because I want a single and I want to live among my friends,” Brad Chu ’06 said.

Others mentioned Prospect and the Berkshire Quad as their first choice. Johannes Pulst-Konberg ’06 said, “I’m planning to live in the Odd Quad next year, specifically either Fitch, or Prospect. The reason for my decision is purely based on the people who tend to live in the Odd Quad.”

“I am thinking about Prospect or the Odd Quad because of location – close to the weight room, track and my work in the athletics office,” Tommy Hall ’06 said.

Many of those first years who wish to live in Mission see Greylock as the best alternative if they find themselves unable to secure rooms there. “I’m hoping to live in either Mission or Greylock,” said Meaghan Rathvon ’06. “[With] a good pick, I’ll definitely choose to live in Mission. I’d rather be around a good group of friends in a second choice location than with a bunch of people I do not know in my first choice location.”

Yet many first years seem content to live anywhere perhaps because they see the housing draw as fairly unpredictable due to inexperience and the possibility that rising juniors could avoid Greylock as a result of the construction. “My pick is based on what’s open. I really don’t have any strong preferences,” Kevin Child ’06 said.

For the majority of next year’s sophomores and juniors, the most important factor will be where their friends are living. Except for the next year’s House Coordinators (HCs) and members of their groups, HC assignments seem to have no effect on students’ decisions to choose certain dorms. When it comes down to actually choosing a room, it is the people rather than the place that matters most to the typical Williams student.

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