Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Students fill housing spots; demand was overestimated

Despite projections that there would be a serious lack of on-campus housing for people who desired it, everyone who participated in the lottery Wednesday through Friday last week was able to get housing.

This was partly because not everyone who signed up for the lottery actually participated, according to Chris Moody, executive director of Housing and Dining Programs.

A total of 540 rising juniors and seniors completed the online housing application by the Feb. 12 deadline, Moody said. All of these students received a random lottery number and were able to participate in the housing lottery last week.

“Every student who attended the housing lottery or who designated Housing and Dining Programs as their proxy was able to secure a space for next fall,” Moody said.

Results of the process are still being recorded, and once sophomores have completed the online room selection process, data will be available about the process, according to Moody.

Stephanie Eichmann, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, had number 370 in the lottery, which was in the “red zone” — the most unlikely category to get on-campus housing. In an e-mail, Housing and Dining told students with lottery numbers over 200 they may not receive housing unless they were intending to room with someone in the green or yellow zone.

Eichmann said she was discouraged and did not plan to attend the lottery because of her number. A friend convinced her to go and she managed to secure a space in the AU-rented Berkshire Apartments.

“I think the biggest problem with the lottery was they made it sound like no one was going to get a room,” Eichmann said. “They claimed that anyone over number 200 was in the red zone, but when I went with my ticket I had the opportunity to move anywhere but Nebraska Hall.”

Eichmann said she thinks everyone who participated in the lottery may have secured a room because many discouraged students did not attend.

“I think a lot of people who wanted a room assumed they weren’t going to get one and never showed up to the lottery,” she said.

Most students were able to secure housing in the groups they wanted to be in. Some groups of four students who wanted to be in Nebraska Hall together were not able to secure a room there, Moody said. Instead, they may have chosen to split into groups of two and live in the Berkshire Apartments, he said.

Dan Lincoln, a sophomore in the School of International Service and creator of the Facebook group “Loyal Opposition to American University’s New Stance on Student Housing,” is going abroad in the fall but applied for a housing lottery number in case he were to change his mind. He got ticket number 180, but he did not attend the lottery.

“I feel as if the university is trying to do the best it can under extenuating [housing] circumstances,” Lincoln said. “Since deciding on going abroad, I feel removed from the process since I found out that the university is going to guarantee housing and give preference to returning abroad students in spring 2011.”

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