The housing application for 2020-2021 has opened, and students are planning where they will live on campus for the upcoming academic year.
On-campus housing is guaranteed for a student’s first two years at Lehigh. First-years live in the residence halls, while sophomores can live in apartment- or suite-style buildings, fraternity and sorority houses for those involved in Greek organizations, residence halls as Gryphons and themed communities.
Vaughan Kramer, ‘22, said he was nervous to enter the housing lottery going into his sophomore year.
“So little is in your hands, and it’s going to affect your life in such a large capacity,” Kramer said. “It truly changes the dynamic of your living situation the next year, and how you move about the campus and get to classes.”
Kramer said he now lives in Warren Square A, which houses the “Creative Vibes” themed community for those with a strong appreciation for music. Next year, he plans to live off-campus rather than participate in the lottery. He said there’s an argument that Lehigh’s random lottery system may not be the most fair method, and he thinks it should operate based on merit.
Ozzie Breiner, Housing Services director, said with the limited spaces available, they try to fill housing as best they can to keep students as happy as possible.
“The biggest challenge is providing students with what they want,” Breiner said. “Students have in mind what they want… And sometimes, when you’re working with a system like ours, you can’t accomodate all of those things.”
Juniors and seniors are not guaranteed on-campus housing but have the option to go through the lottery system.
Christina D’Aversa, associate director of Housing Services, said in an email that about 40 percent of the combined junior and senior classes live on campus.
In the junior class, 167 students live in residence halls and 314 in Greek houses. For seniors, 109 live in residence halls and 13 live in Greek houses, D’Aversa said.
The housing lottery is conducted over a three-day sign up period, where students are matched with roommates or select roommates, and a configuration is posted based on what they listed in the application about housing style and building preferences.
“We try to build a very specific configuration that models what students in the process are looking for,” D’Aversa said.
Ivery Marquez, ‘23, said she feels like the living situation would be better if the residence halls were renovated or located more conveniently, like Farrington Square.
She said she is hoping to live in a single so she can have her own room, kitchen and bathroom. She said she likes the sense of independence and would prefer not to be in a lively dorm building.
“I don’t think people realize they can request or appeal,” Marquez said. “I think having more of an application style, where you explain why you want to live there and what you would bring to the community, would be valuable for example themed communities.”
Breiner said there are aspirations to change the lottery system in the future to make it easier for students to choose to live together, but it is not always possible within the designed system concerning technology and some of the rules.
With a rise in the number of students being accepted to the university and the creation of new living spaces, Breiner said making the lottery system efficient is not getting any easier. In fact, it will probably become tougher to allocate housing.
Next semester, the Singleton, Maida and Hitch House will add 720 new on-campus residential spaces.