Room draw sees new processes for substance-free housing and living learning communities

by Eileen Brady | 5/10/18 2:40am

by Michael Lin and Michael Lin / The Dartmouth

Allen House residents were the last of the housing communities to pick their housing accomodations on May 3, marking the end of the room draw process for the Fall 2018 term. This year’s room draw featured a new method for assigning rooms in substance-free housing, as well as slightly altered living options in Living Learning Communities and senior apartments, associate director of undergraduate housing Elicia Rowan wrote in an email statement.

The room draw process began on Apr. 24 and concluded on May 3, allowing for each of Dartmouth’s six housing communities to hold room draw on a different night with two additional nights of room draw for substance-free housing and senior apartments. All students are assigned a housing priority number which dictates what time they can choose their room, should they choose to enter their housing community’s room draw.

Available data on the results of room draw is consistent with past years in terms of participation and room trends, according to an email statement from director of undergraduate housing Rachael Class-Giguere. She wrote that more seniors than normal opted for two-room doubles, but added that it has been a trend over the past five years.

A major change for this year’s room draw process, however, lies in the method for assigning rooms in substance-free housing. In the past, students were able to select their own rooms on substance-free floors, but this year students were asked to indicate their preference for substance-free ahead of the general room draw process. If accepted into substance-free housing, students were assigned a room on a substance-free floor and were then unable to enter their house community’s general room draw. Rowan wrote that this change was made in an effort to allow students for whom substance-free housing is a priority to have a better chance of receiving a substance-free room assignment.

“Over the past few years, there were students who indicated they were interested in substance-free to increase their odds of getting a particular room type or location,” wrote Rowan. “We had students for whom substance-free housing was a priority who we were not able to get into substance-free locations during room draw. This year, students had to choose what their preference was ahead of time.”

Rowan added that while she does not yet have specific numbers related to substance-free housing, she thought that the housing office has received fewer complaints so far from students who were not able to get into substance-free housing.

“We will see how well things worked overall once students are living on these floors and make adjustments as needed for next year,” Rowan said.

Delilah Forrest ’21, who applied for substance-free housing, said that she appreciated the convenience of being automatically assigned to a room on a substance-free floor.

“I applied for sub-free housing because I actually wanted to be in sub-free housing, but I also thought that it seemed pretty useful that you didn’t have to worry about figuring out which room to take or anything,” Forrest said. “You applied and the housing office sorted it out for you.”

Application numbers to Dartmouth’s LLCs have remained relatively constant from past years’, according to associate director of residential education for living learning programs and academic initiatives Katharina Daub. Roughly 10 to 15 percent of each class will be living in an LLC in the coming year, which is standard, she said.

Daub added that most applicants got their first preference LLC.

This year marked the second time that room assignments within LLCs were made by hand rather than through online selection. Because acceptance into a LLC is binding, the new assignment system works better than an online LLC room draw in which students choose their own rooms, said Daub, who is responsible for making the room assignments within LLCs once she receives the lists of who has been accepted into each community. Daub said that students applying to LLCs are still able to indicate roommate preferences.

“It used to be that folks would pick their rooms digitally, but it gets quite complicated if there are only 12 people picking from six different rooms, trying to match up the gender,” she added. “We’ve just decided to manually make the room assignments and take into consideration people’s roommate preferences and roommate groups.”

Although the selection process for next year’s LLC room assignments has not changed, the actual housing plan is slightly different from this year, Daub said. This past year, some of the communities were housed in the North Park apartments rather than in the McLaughlin Cluster due to the large size of the class of 2021.

In the coming year, all communities will be housed in McLaughlin except for the eight stand-alone communities, the Max Kade German Center and the Hillel LLC, Daub said.

“Last spring, when we did this process, everything was supposed to be in McLaughlin. Then in mid-May, we found out that the size of the incoming first-year class was very large,” Daub said. “We decided that the extra first-year beds would be well served to be in McLaughlin, so we shifted some upper-class Living Learning Communities into the North Park apartments for one year. Now that’s all going back.”

This shift allowed for the addition of more apartment options for seniors.

“For the upcoming year we moved [some] LLCs back to McLaughlin and opened [those] spaces up during the senior apartment room draw,” Rowan wrote. “Apartments have been very popular with seniors, so these additional apartments were added to the two North Park apartments previously offered (10 and 16 North Park), the Ledyard apartments, and Maxwell and Channing Cox apartments.”