Deborah Barany Photograph


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The Housing Lottery

April 26, 2010   Not all Hamilton dorm rooms are created equal.  Some people get to live in the lap of luxury, while others settle for something a lot less than luxury.  So, with that in mind and the fact that all but about 50 people live in dorms on campus, the housing lottery process is a pretty big deal.  From well before everyone gets their lottery number to well after the final room is selected, it seems like the only thing on people's minds is where you're gonna live, who you're gonna live with, and how many ways things could go wrong.

The housing lottery is a systemic way that the rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors choose their rooms for the following year (first-years are assigned to rooms, and not too shabby ones at that).  Seniors choose first, then juniors, and finally sophomores.  Within each class year, everyone gets randomly assigned a lottery number, indicating what order you can choose your room.  If you're #1 in the senior class, you thank the housing lottery gods and take your pick of anything you want; if you're #500 in the sophomore class, you pray you get pulled somewhere.  Getting "pulled" means that someone with a higher lottery number can "pull" someone (or multiple people) with a lower number to live with them.  The number and type of pulls people get depends on all sorts of different rules, and honestly, beyond this point the housing lottery gets too complicated for me to understand (for those interested in the specifics, visit the reslife page: http://www.hamilton.edu/college/residential_life/lotteryhome.html)

In the past I've received pretty average lottery numbers, and have been very fortunate with my living situation (see entry "Home Suite Home").  This year, I got another average number, 214.  Fortunately, one of my friends got 45 and approached me with the idea of getting a Dark Side faculty apartment.  Obviously this was exciting news...the fac apps are former (you guessed it) faculty apartments with two doubles, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a big ole' common room.  They're also close to the Glen, McEwen dining hall, Wellin Hall, and KJ—all places I enjoy visiting frequently.  Over the past two years I've just grown so accustomed to living on the Dark Side, and the fac app presented a perfect place to be close to friends.

So, after weeks of intense anticipation and worrying, the general housing lottery finally came.  Thankfully, one of the fac apps we wanted was still open by our time to select, so our group of four selected our rooms and sealed the deal.  McIntosh Fac App, '10-'11—it's gonna be awesome.  Come visit.