Housing deadlines approach for returning students

Deborah Nixon

As spring term draws to a close and summer is in sight, a big concern among Lawrence students is housing for the next school year. All housing selections, except formal group housing, will take place in the next few weeks.
Formal group housing decisions — the first on the housing selection timeline — were announced last Monday. Phi Delta Theta will not be able to reapply for the same house because they did not have all of the beds filled by last Tuesday’s deadline. The Phi Delt’s will be applying for another house. As of Wednesday night, no official announcement had been made about other formal group houses that are currently under review.
Theme group housing decisions will be announced next Tuesday at the Lawrence University Community Council (LUCC) meeting. However, two current theme groups, Computer Science and Soundboard, have not yet reapplied for housing.
Formal and theme groups have to meet very different criteria for housing selection. Formal groups have to be recognized by the LUCC, have a mission statement, leadership structure, a faculty or staff advisor and be more than one year old to have a house.
In contrast, theme groups must have a clear theme that is of interest to all house members, plans for ways to interact with the campus community and plans for furthering the theme over the next year.
The theme house selection committee is made up of students. There are three representatives from the LUCC, three members of the LUCC Residence Life committee and three students from the general student body.
Amy Beyer, co-chair of the Residence Life committee, stated that the LUCC is looking for a “theme house that benefits and interacts with the community.a house that’s not closed up.”
Housing availability varies from year to year. Amy Uecke, Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life, explained, “The administration determines what housing is available by the projection of the number of students returning and coming to campus.”
However, no more than 75 percent of Lawrence’s houses can be used for formal housing. This rule allows eleven houses to be open to formal groups and leaves houses for theme groups and general housing. Four houses are available to theme groups.
Lawrence’s housing process is also seeing a few minor changes over the next few years; one being the location of housing selection. Normally held in the Union, housing selection will be moved to the Recreation Center next year. As Dan Crouse, co-chair of the Residence Life Committee, stated, “This move will allow more space and be less chaotic.”
Even with this small improvement, there are always things that are not quite perfect. Crouse commented, “There are questions that are never quite answered.but the current system works best out of everything we could think of.”
Housing for study-abroad students is still an issue since those students are not granted priority in the campus housing selection process. Uecke explained that “students that are here all three terms are given priority. We don’t have enough beds for several to be empty during the year.”
If the study-abroad students were given equal priority in the regular selection system, then students who are on campus all year would also have to move rooms. Uecke added, “Having students [that are here all three terms] stay in one place all year is important to the community feeling. In the past, when the priority was different, we have had as many as 1,000 room changes.”
However, according to a survey two years ago with the current system, Uecke stated that the feedback from returning study-abroad students was “mostly positive.” Beyer added, “I think it’s [housing for study-abroad students] at the fairest point right now.”
As for the strengths of the Lawrence system, Crouse commented, “I like the fact that it’s student run.we get input from a lot of different perspectives.” Uecke also added that Lawrence is unique from many other colleges due to the variety of housing options, a direct consequence of all students living on campus.
For students actively interested in the housing process, Beyer made a suggestion: “There are spots open in the Residence Life Committee.you are more than welcome to contact one of us.