Life on the West side

Robin Heim

It’s almost that time of year again – Villanova sophomores wait anxiously by their computers as the rising junior housing lottery numbers are revealed. The quad bursts with shrieks of excitement and groans of disappointment as residents rush into the hallways to compare numbers. One lucky student receives number one, while a less fortunate student receives number 501.

It all boils down to the luck of the draw. The rising junior housing lottery is an entirely random process. Students are assigned a generated computer number which they can access online through Novasis.

There is a separate lottery for rising juniors and guaranteed seniors, as well as for males and females. The number of apartments set aside for male and female students is determined by the number of people eligible.

After receiving a lottery number, students fill out the room selection preference form and indicate the preferred type of housing, names of desired roommates, and special needs and other preferences. Residence Life then inputs the lowest lottery number of the students choosing to be roommates.

The 2004-2005 year was the first attempt at this new computer-generated system. In years past, every housing assignment was determined manually. The computer program has eased the burden of the Residence Life staff while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of the housing process.

Since the lottery and preference forms are available online, students studying abroad or working at internships have the ability to access this information at their convenience.

“We worked with the folks in the UNIT to make this happen,” says Marie Schauder, assistant director for housing services. “The technology was there. It was just a matter of working with the programmers to put the idea into reality.”

There are approximately 1,550 rising juniors on campus with only 1,200 apartment spaces available, 150 of which are set aside for seniors with guaranteed housing. It is therefore a fact that some students will not be assigned to an apartment.

Approximately 200 guaranteed seniors are eligible to participate in the guaranteed senior apartment and hall lottery.

Among the seniors with guaranteed housing are female engineers, nurses, Presidential Scholars and athletes on scholarship.

The class of 2008 is a very large class. “What will happen with this class, I don’t know,” Schauder says. “Housing is going to be tight yet again.” Schrader’s primary goal this year is to utilize space to the best of her ability.

“I’m afraid I won’t get an apartment,” says Jessica Atterbury, current sophomore and resident of St. Mary’s. “I’ve wanted to live in an apartment since freshman year.”

Most underclassmen share in the excitement of living in the West campus apartments. After two years of living in smaller rooms without kitchens, common rooms and air conditioning, students look forward to what the apartments have to offer.

“The apartments essentially separate you from the underclassmen,” Atterbury says.

So I know what you’re thinking – become a resident assistant in order to be guaranteed an apartment! Not so fast. The West campus RAs must first be assigned an apartment before applying to become a resident assistant.

For students who fail to get an apartment assignment, Schauder’s recommendation is to continue with the housing contract so that not all chances of getting an apartment are lost.

As for the future of Villanova housing, Schauder foresees changes. Recently, Villanova’s faculty and administration have been focusing their attention on the improvement of the law and nursing schools.

Thus, the housing issue has taken a back seat. In the meantime, Residence Life is pushing for the renovation of existing dormitory halls.

Schauder, in her 18th year at Villanova, has participated in many of the changes on campus. She witnessed the construction of the first four apartments, and most people never imagined that another four would be added so quickly.

The answer to Villanova’s current housing problem may not be as far down the road as students think.

“The University has a priority to resolve the housing issue,” says Schauder. “The ultimate goal is to issue good housing to all undergraduate students who are interested.”