Last spring, Andrew Greenspon thought his lottery number was exactly what he needed to get an on-campus apartment. When his number was finally called in Bemis, Greenspon was under the impression he would be living in the last available, highly sought after campus housing.
Greenspon, now a junior, thought wrong. An error in the process meant that the apartment he thought he was about to get was actually gone.
“I was given a high lottery number and assumed I would get an apartment—what the school presents as ‘junior housing,’” he said. “I was livid.”
The campus apartments are known for their privacy and proximity to campus amenities, and are considered a right of passage for juniors to adjust to the lifestyle of off-campus living in senior year.
But more and more seniors are deciding that apartment life is too good to abandon, and juniors are stuck with less-than-ideal living conditions.
Since CC is a self-claimed “residential” campus, students are required to live on campus for three years, which places stress on the lottery system for the overwhelmingly popular apartments available beginning junior year.
Instead of having the opportunity to find off-campus housing with freedoms similar to those offered by the apartments, which most other colleges and universities offer, the fate of CC juniors’ housing lies in the lottery system.
Andrew Greenspon lost that lottery.
“Often the school tries to say that living on campus for three years isn’t so bad because junior year you get to live in the new apartments,” Greenspon said. “Unfortunately that’s not true for everyone.”
However, Assistant Director for Residential Life Sara Rotunno sees the three-year, on-campus requirement as an “opportunity” for underclassmen.
“A main idea behind juniors living on campus is how they contribute back to their community and [serve as] role-model[s] for other students,” Rotunno said. “Juniors often can share insightful and very meaningful information with younger class students.”
But Greenspon, who now lives in what he calls a “cramped” Bemis single, sees it differently.
“If juniors were allowed the option to go off campus, many of these problems would dissolve,” Greenspon said. “Our campus is small enough and tight enough that making an argument for demanding students to live on campus for three years due to these reasons is ridiculous.”
With the added bonus of the apartments’ proximity to campus, it is understandable why seniors would want to stay for a fourth year.
Senior Adam Dickerson is one of those students who saw the positives of continuing to live on campus.
“My schedule keeps me wound up on campus, sometimes from very early in the morning until late at night,” Dickerson said. “I knew that if I had a house off campus I would rarely ever be there. I’m running back and forth between my place and work/class/extracurriculars enough as it is.”
“If living in apartments is better, then it makes sense for the seniors to have first pick,” Dickerson said.
The lottery to get into an apartment gives the most preference to seniority.
“I definitely feel like I earned it,” Dickerson said, “but if living off-campus is so great, then it shouldn’t be a problem for juniors.”
But it is a problem.
Juniors cannot live off campus unless they have senior standing or have a petition accepted by Res Life.
The apartments are the most popular place to reside on campus, and because juniors can’t live off campus and the lottery favors seniors, juniors are stuck in a sort of housing limbo between apartments and other, less desirable housing.
“I actually was planning on going off campus; the people I am rooming with kept saying ‘apartment’,” Nick Johnson, a senior, said. “If it weren’t for the fact that one of my roommates is a junior, I would have completely forgotten that juniors could live in the apartments on campus.”
Johnson and Dickerson both agree that their seniority has given them the right to choose where they live, whether on or off campus.
Greenspon expected that same ability in his senior year, but hoped he would have had more freedom in his current junior year.
“CC students should be able to live [in the apartments] as a rite of passage,” Greenspon said.
The apartments can house 240 students, and though there is not enough room to house all juniors and seniors in the apartments, the other housing options are at least a step up from dorm life.
“There are enough beds between small houses and apartments that all juniors and seniors can have housing and not live in Loomis, Slocum, and Mathias,” Rotunno said.
Though Greenspon, and other juniors like him, find the three-year campus residential requirement nonsensical, Rotunno articulated that juniors’ presence in on-campus housing is beneficial to the greater student body.
“We love that juniors mingle with others in the housing system, and [we] are very intentional about providing this opportunity as part of a four-year plan for our students,” Rotunno said.
But for those like Greenspon, it will be another year before the option of freedom and increased living space become a reality.