While LMU’s housing selection procedure has left some juniors and seniors lingering on the waitlist in the past, this year’s process resulted in all applicants with non-guaranteed status finding on-campus housing for the 2012-13 academic year.
The waitlist-free process, which, according to Director of Resident Services Nan Miller, is a first for the University, came with one caveat: In order to give all the non-guaranteed applicants housing, several students had to be placed in Hannon Apartments, a community that this year housed only sophomores.
“The Class of 2014, the ones who were guaranteed last year, was a big class in general. The amount of students who applied last year took up all of Hannon Apartments,” said Miller. “This year, there’s a smaller class, the Class of 2015, so there are less students in that guaranteed population.”
Seniors who are set to live in Hannon next year have mixed feelings about the situation.
“I’m not too happy about it, just because I feel like Student Housing should have told us living in sophomore housing was a possibility,” said junior liberal studies major Katherine DePonte.
“I feel like four-person junior groups would be better suited to Hannon Apartments, but for seniors, they really should be over in the Leavey area,” said junior business management major Connie Hoang.
While the presence of juniors and seniors in the Hannon Apartments may seem unusual, according to Miller it’s actually more common than some students think.
“Hannon, historically, has always been a split community in that sense,” Miller said. “Sophomores, juniors, seniors and even graduate students have lived there [previously].”
Regardless of the historical trend, the primary fear of rising seniors assigned to Hannon is that they’ll wind up living with underclassmen, an idea that is particularly unappealing to future Hannon resident and junior sociology major Melissa Mahoney.
“There’s a possibility that I’m gonna have to live with sophomores or juniors, which I’m not excited about at all,” Mahoney said. “I’ve lived with underclassmen before. It’s not fun.”
DePonte agreed, saying, “I would not be happy [living with sophomores], just because we’re in different places. We’re finishing; they’d still have two years left. I wouldn’t mind living with juniors, but I feel like sophomores are still kind of immature.”
The process of determining which buildings are available to non-guaranteed applicants is less about the upperclassmen pool and more about the number of rising sophomores.
“It’s really, in a lot of ways, focused on the guaranteed class: How many of them apply, how many of them come in. That starts to dictate how much of, let’s say, Hannon, we give to non-guaranteed students,” Miller said. “Depending on how many spaces there are in McCarthy, Rains and McKay [Residence Halls], we focus on Tenderich [Apartments] and if there are still some left, we put them in Hannon [Apartments].”
The process is confusing for several students, including Mahoney, who doubts the veracity of the selection process’s random lottery system.
“I’ve heard theories about this, that when you go to the page with the grid with the numbers, the grid is [fake],” Mahoney said. “Juniors and seniors go into the same lottery, while sophomores have their own thing. How could it be random if priority should be going to underclassmen?”
While some students may wonder about how random the process really is, Miller steadfastly defends the fairness of the program.
“[The lottery system] is absolutely, 100 percent random,” Miller said, acknowledging that many students doubt the legitimacy of the program. “It goes back to way back before any of us were here at the University when they would pull numbers out of a fishbowl. What we have online is the same philosophy, a grid put together by an expert in Information Technology Services. I don’t even know what the numbers are.”
Though some seniors may be frustrated with their housing arrangements in Hannon Apartments, Hoang and Mahoney agreed that they’d rather have the security of knowing they have housing rather than being left on a waitlist.
“If I wasn’t guaranteed housing, I’d rather just live in Hannon [Apartments],” said Mahoney. “A waitlist is too iffy. I’m not a risk taker.”
However, DePonte would rather have been waitlisted than be assigned to Hannon Apartments. “Hannon [Apartments] has always been just for sophomores,” she said, “and the environment is just very different than upperclassmen housing.”
With juniors and seniors returning in 2012-13 after a year of only sophomores in Hannon Apartments, it isn’t hard for Mahoney to imagine that Hannon itself will be significantly changed next year.
“I think that it’s going to be completely different. The fact that there’s seniors there who can go to the Loft for a bit and it won’t be a big event will change a lot of things. Hannon [Apartments] is typically for sophomores, so I think having that mix is gonna be different.”
Miller isn’t worried, however. “I don’t think it will be affected at all. The current year is the anomaly when it comes to Hannon [Apartments] predominantly being entirely sophomore students. … I know that our staff will do a great job at building the community and providing programs that meet the needs of everyone living there, just like they have in the past.”