200 Days in the Life of the College

Sunday, May 1

The luck of the draw for a room with a view

By Alexandra Orlov ’13

At 9 a.m. on a weekend, a conscious Hamilton student can be a rare sight. But on this Sunday morning, almost the entire rising senior class is cramming into the Fillius Events Barn for the oft-dreaded annual Housing Lottery. Each year, students are assigned randomly generated lottery numbers to establish the order of selection; this morning, numero uno in the Class of 2012 is biology major Nick Richards.

“I really couldn’t believe I got number one,” he says. “I refreshed the Hamilton website page a couple of times just to make sure.” Richards’ previous high lottery numbers resulted in two years spent in historically undesirable Dunham. Thanks to his reversal of fortune this year, Richards intends to “pull” six friends to live in Root Farmhouse, the popular set of apartments directly across Martin’s Way from the Sadove Student Center.

In the Events Barn, students wait their turn by huddling around tables, monitoring available rooms via an online spreadsheet. Others attempt to study for impending finals. Tension is palpable. A green-shirted army of resident advisors and staff members patrols the entrance to Tolles Pavilion, ready to call out each lottery number.

“Number One!” comes a voice. Richards’ group is ushered in by Resident Advisor Lucas Kang ’13. Most students first weigh their options by examining dorm floor plans posted on the wall, but Richards and friends make a beeline for the final selection area. They seal the deal by placing nametag stickers on a spreadsheet for “The Farmhouse.”

To the victor go the spoils, and for the unlucky rising sophomores who will choose later, there will always be rooms available in Bundy — where the author is currently in residence.