The lowdown on the housing lottery

A student talks about the struggles of CNU’s Housing Lottery

When it pertains to housing at Christopher Newport University, it truly comes down to chance, especially with the beloved Housing Lottery. While freshmen do not have to worry about housing because the university handles room assignments, for second year students and beyond, the responsibility is all their own. 

So, how exactly does this process work?

Picture this: A giant hat filled with slips of paper with time slots on them. These time slots determine the date and time the student will be allowed to select their dorm building and room. The assignment of times to students is determined by the student’s academic standing. Individuals who are in either the Honors Program or the President’s Leadership Program will have their names drawn first, followed by students who are in neither. Sounds fair, right? Wrong. 

As a result of this system, it seems as though students who are in Leadership or Honors have a better chance of securing their desired housing. In fact, these students are told they are guaranteed priority housing. And that’s what I was led to believe. 

Flashback to spring semester. It’s the morning we sign up for housing, and my future roommates and I are anxiously waiting for it to be 10:15 a.m., my assigned time. We had been told our time slot was right on the cuff, there was pretty much a 50/50 chance we would get into Warwick Hall, our desired location. 

As I refreshed the page and logged in, we saw there were no available (whole) rooms in Warwick, while there were a few rooms with one or two vacancies of which we did not want to sacrifice living together just to be in Warwick. We froze, in awe, and finally someone said, “I guess we’ll be in JR.”

No offense to James River Hall, but it is nothing like Warwick. It’s the equivalent of comparing Santoro to York. Unfortunately, the majority of our friends would be living the dream, fortunate enough to have found rooms in Warwick. 

Just to add salt to the wound, a group of our guy friends, in which only two of the six are in PLP and/or Honors, got a six-person suite in Warwick. To make matters worse, a few of them were on Academic Probation. In comparison, my roommates and I are all in PLP; three of us made Dean’s list and two of them are college athletes. 

In order for an individual to be accepted into the Honors program one must have earned a GPA of 3.7 in highschool and scored at least a 1310 on the SAT. Students in the President’s Leadership Program earned a GPA of 3.5 and scored at least a 1250 on the SAT. While attending CNU, these students must maintain a certain GPA in order to stay in the program and qualify for their scholarships. While the system as it is now does favor these students, it does not guarantee priority housing to the deserving.

I propose that suites/roommates should be evaluated as a whole based on their GPA, standing with the university and applicable programs and then assigned times, rather than individual evaluations, which will eliminate the “lottery” aspect because it will be more structured with standards.  

This will prevent groups of people who do not “deserve” to be in Warwick from being in Warwick. In the case that a student chooses to have a random roommate, they will be evaluated individually. As the system stands, if one student in a group has an early time due to their academic standing, the group can rest assured they will be placed in the hall they desire. 

By eliminating the lottery system, PLP and Honors students will be guaranteed priority housing like the University claims to do. But for now, I will be in JR.

~Cana Wilson, Staff Writer~

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