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Housing selection upsets students

Fifty-three rising juniors may find irony in this year’s “#YOLILO” (You Only Live In Lottie Once) T-shirts because they will live in the sophomore dorms again next year.

CSB housing selection took place last week and will continue after spring break. Some rising juniors and seniors, who have already selected housing, are disappointed with the outcome.

“I am secluded from the rest of my class,” CSB sophomore Ellora Parrington said.

Parrington currently lives in Margaretta and will live in Lottie next year.

“It’s more expensive. I won’t have the ability to cook in my room. I won’t have the same rules as in upperclassmen apartments, and it is not fair because I did nothing wrong to deserve it.”

A lottery system, in place since 2008, determines where students live.

“We have never guaranteed a particular type of housing to any student or cohort group,” said Mary Beth Thompson, Director of Residential Life for Facilities and Operations.

“We have a specific number of beds available to students in residence halls and apartments, and the availability depends entirely on the choices made by each cohort group.”

Thompson said Residential Life made sure to communicate to students the importance of having other housing options in mind.

Even so, CSB junior Christa Troup said she never thought a third choice behind Centennial Commons and Luetmer was needed.

“The housing email said to have back ups for both at 6:15 p.m., but we really thought we could be living in Luetmer with our time five minutes around that,” Troup said. “It is annoying to be a senior living with a roommate and being in the same living situation again.”

Troup will be living in McDonald, a déjà vu experience from her current apartment in Zierden.

Not all upperclassmen will be living on campus. Approximately 200 students were released from next year’s residency requirement. Of these, nearly all of them are rising seniors.

Since 2006, CSB students have been required to live on campus or in campus-approved housing all four years. Despite the requirement, some Bennies live off campus due to on-campus housing needs. Off-campus numbers fluctuate year-to-year depending on trends in enrollment, retention and numbers studying abroad.

Thompson said the residency requirement is more than just the “beds and pillows,” though.

“It requires a commitment to the overall student experience inside and outside the classroom,” she said.

Parrington feels students can still get that experience from living off campus.

“It’s different for every school but in St. Joe we are all so integrated in the community that you still get that whole college experience. I feel like it is actually more of a college experience because you are given that responsibility and they trust you to be an adult,” she said. “I don’t feel like we are being treated like adults if we are in the dorms. If I knew I would have had to live in Lottie, or even had the chance to, I would have applied (to live) off campus.”

CSB first-year Ashton Arnhalt also supports living off campus. However, her pressing concern regards rumors about rising sophomores living in first-year dorms. These are untrue, however.

“The current first-year class will be accommodated in Lottie, Margretta and Brian, and we don’t anticipate that any of those students will select housing in Aurora, Corona or Regina,” Thompson said.

Arnhalt still understands she probably won’t get her first or even second pick.

“I realize it is what it is and I am just going to have to live with what I get, whether I like it or not,” she said.

Seeing students disappointed over housing is a challenge for Residential Life.

“It’s hard to know we cannot please everyone. But we’re here because we want to serve the students to the best of our ability,” Thompson said.

Parrington would like to see more open and clear communication in order to eliminate hurt feelings.

“Better communication needs to happen. If housing knows the situation they need to communicate that to us earlier. It’s easier for them and it’s easier for us,” she said.

Other Bennies can offer their suggestions and opinions in a room selection survey. Thompson said they take student considerations seriously to make the process better each year.

Student feedback led to the decision of making housing selection an online process, something that will be implemented next year.

Until then, Parrington will live another year in the dorms.

“I was led on to believe we will be given certain opportunities as upperclassmen. I feel like that was taken away from me,” Parrington said.