When informed of the confusion and rumors circling campus about FYRE, or First Year Residential Experience, and all freshmen getting preferred lottery numbers, Eleanor Kahn of the campus life office could do nothing but scratch her head in confusion.
“[Only] one first year student who attends the events will win a priority number,” Kahn, the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Residential and Greek Education, explained.
This year Campus Life decided to create a weekly event for freshmen where they could learn useful tips and tricks to help them succeed in the Knox community, and as college students overall. FYRE is just one of many styles of events that Student Life has held to help orient new students to this massive life change.
Of course, the idea of first years getting housing preferences over seniors and students with senior standing caused immediate alarm for many.
“So, I heard that first years who went to these FYRE events would get first pick of housing next year in the housing lottery,” junior Anna Rhodes said.
Every year students are assigned lottery numbers based on their year at Knox, with lower numbers providing the best housing choices. Generally, first years are assigned higher numbers, as seniority is given priority. Aside from class year, the system is randomized so that everyone has a fair chance at the building or house that they want. Rhodes believes that this is an equitable system.
“Because it’s based on chance you can’t really blame not getting the house you want on the lottery,” Rhodes said.
According to Kahn, this enticing opportunity is worth it if it means more freshmen will be informed on the important topics they’re covering. Now that they’ve started the program, they plan on continuing it in future years as well.
“[Preferred housing] has a high value to students, and we believe these values we’re teaching are things we want all students to be informed about,” Kahn said.
Though attendance is promising, having somewhere between 65 to 80 students at many of the events, Kahn’s hope is that with greater exposure and a promise of exciting rewards all freshmen will attend.
The event topics so far have featured money management, ways to make the most out of food services, voting and responsible citizenship, mental health and self-care, and this week a lesson on useful discussion in preparation for the Day of Dialogue.
Freshman Mizuno Chiba was very enthusiastic about these weekly meetings, having been to every one so far. Her favorite so far was discussing money management and making use of her meal plan.
“I’ve been to every event so far and I’ve really enjoyed them,” Chiba said.
“Students do learn these things through experience, but we’re providing students with great opportunities to help them,” sophomore RA Akash Patel said. “So far [students] have been extremely receptive.”
An event a few weeks ago focused on mental health, which Patel was glad to be providing students with information about as it is relevant for many students.
Rhodes agreed. “The information is meant to help first years, and an incentive for them to go is good. One student getting a better lottery number will be more helpful than harmful overall,” she said.
FYRE meetings are at 7:30p.m. on Mondays in Alumni Hall.