Kat Namon ’22
Trinity’s housing lottery annually leaves a number of students without housing, due to factors which include shifting circumstances, dorm availability, and low lottery numbers. Last semester, due to the closing of the Boardwalk and Park Place dormitories, 50 students were left on the waitlist to receive their housing assignments. In past years, as many as 100 students have been on the waitlist, however, despite these high numbers, students always end up with a housing assignment by the start of the fall semester.
Because Boardwalk and Park Place were shuttered, the Dean of Students Office made the decision to permit a higher number of students to live off campus this academic year.
Director of Residential Life Susan Salisbury discussed the change with the Tripod, noting that “Everybody got housed, there were a few students, not very many, that came back and said they wanted to live together, and because we couldn’t accommodate them during the time of the lottery, the Dean of Students office permitted us to allow them to live off campus.”
Typically, the Dean of Students Office imposes a 175-student limit on those released from the College’s on-campus housing requirement.
Included in the off-campus limit are those students who reside in “a house operated by their Greek organization,” according to an email sent by Salisbury last February.
Salisbury continued, explaining that “[Those students] were permitted, if they did not get housing, but only if they did not. If they selected housing and said ‘Oh, now I want to live off campus’ and cancelled, they were penalized. We would have been able to accommodate them, but probably not in their first choice of a quad or a single.”
Further, the introduction of new residential opportunities and vacancies in other academic buildings helped to close the gap in the housing waitlist.
Salisbury indicated that “we had the Doonesbury Cross Cultural Living Community, which you had to apply to, and some people who were on the wait list did apply, and that’s where they’re living now. The Fred had a few vacancies as well, so people applied, and they are living there now.”
Naomi Dressler ’22, a current resident of the Doonesbury Cross Cultural Living Community (CCLC), spoke with the Tripod about her experience with the process. Dressler was accepted to live there over the summer, after being one of the 50 students on the housing waitlist.
Dressler had originally hoped to live in High Rise with three other sophomores, who are now in the CCLC with her. Dressler said, “Everyone was super helpful about it, the two people who ran [the CCLC] could not have been friendlier and showed us the building and gave us a little background info back in April when we decided to apply.”
Dressler continued, noting that despite not getting the housing she had originally expected, she was still satisfied with the quality of housing. Dressler added that “the rooms are great, a two room double connected by an entryway/bathroom to a third single. The community has been awesome so far, we’re hoping to meet at least once a week and everyone seems very supportive of one another and excited to participate.”
Many students were unaware of their living situation until mid-summer, Salisbury said, as “it takes a long period of time to assign student housing on the waitlist. Most of the students [are assigned] by the end of June, some July. [This is] mostly because we were waiting to see what would open up because students’ plans change.” Salisbury further indicated that the Academic Affairs Committee “does not even meet until June” and issue determinations relative to required withdrawals because of academic concerns that impact housing.
Salisbury added that she does not “get that information until almost mid-June” and that, this year, “there were a number of students who were hoping their petition would be accepted and applied for housing.” Thus, determinations on vacancies are not readily available until after the Academic Affairs Committee issues decisions.
Salisbury also clarified to the Tripod that students who are living off campus this year are doing so of their own accord and are not receiving any help from the school. She added: “We consider ourselves a residential campus and so we do allow around 175 students for off-campus living, but this year we went a little bit over that number.” Salisbury indicated that while the College did allow more students than is usual to “go off-campus because of the circumstances,” Trinity “does not work with the property owners: leases are between the property owners and the students.