Columns / Discourse / Student Senate / February 18, 2010

The Senate Perspective: Lottery reformation

As straightforwardly as possible: we experienced a housing crisis this year that should never happen again.

Chiefly, first year students being placed into senior apartments and theme houses. I, however, am unsure as to whether there is any “blame” to be placed in this situation. Knox has more incoming freshman than we expected, a lot more! That is a good thing. While many schools are struggling to keep the number of incoming students they receive both consistent and high, Knox is getting more students than it can house.

So that’s where the problem is then, too high of an incoming class? Well, maybe, but let’s not stifle that resource yet; housing problems can be fixed first.

Something I have noticed during my time in Student Senate is that Knox students will first ask, “Well, what do other schools in the ACM do?” However, when they receive an answer they do not agree with or desire, then they would like Knox to be the exception. Because, frankly, “We Are Knox!” After learning that every school in the ACM and GLCA do not allow those students going abroad to enter the lottery, I knew a Knox solution had to be procured. After all, we do have more students going abroad than most, if not all of them. We put a lot of emphasis on our off-campus programs, it would not make sense for us to take away from those students who choose to take advantage of those programs the joy of going through lottery. However, it is clear that the system cannot more forward as is: most seniors would rather not have a freshman living with them for a term and none of them should have to.

I am not sure why this was not in place earlier, and it is really nothing special at all. However I do believe it will fix most all of the problems we have, and that is not allowing student pairs to enter the lottery if their being in lottery will result in what I will call a “double-single.” It is infinitely easier to run-through a quick example, as opposed to explaining whatever policy would be put in place, so I will. If a student “Conor,” who will be on campus all year (fall, winter, and spring) wishes to enter the lottery with his friend “Nik,” who will only be on campus fall and winter, he cannot. However, if they are entering the lottery with a third friend, “Taylor,” who will only be in campus spring term, they are then all allowed to enter. It will basically work like a puzzle. An easy way to think about it is, “no empty beds.” If someone is going to be abroad, it is your job to find someone.

Biggest foreseeable problems: (i) students not being able to find other students who are going abroad to live with, and (ii) students who have neither been accepted nor rejected from their programs by the time lottery happens. The second problem will be handled on a case-by-case basis through the Associate Dean of Students. The first problem’s solution will be facilitated through the Campus Life Office. That solution is simply a list of students who are traveling abroad, as well as when they will be on campus, their year, and contact information. I do believe there is the potential for problems, however, bugs will be worked out. By next year I think it would work great and could possibly even be done online.

While I’ve got your attention, by the time this is printed Special Interest Housing applications will have been due and I look forward to have some great, new houses on campus next year!

Andrew Kunsak

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