Written by Caleb Hall. Media by Shannon Geary.
*Due to the nature of the article and the approach it takes in discussing this campus-related topic, we the editors chose to move this to the opinions section from the campus news section. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this.*
The annual housing lottery which takes place every spring to determine who lives where has been subjected to intense criticisms from the student body of late. Tim Caldwell, Dustin Fenton (Student Development), and other staff have been viewed less than kindly for their role in the whole fiasco thus far. However, to achieve the most accurate picture of the situation we must examine several viewpoints.
Many sophomores, juniors, and seniors are upset with the current housing system. Students are not able to live where they would like, due to the disparity between the number of available Upper Division spaces and the number of students wanting to fill them. The end result being that those who aren’t placed in a GC house, Tower Apartments, or what have you, are left no other choice but to remain in Intermediate or Traditional Housing. Since there are so many upperclassmen (and even sophomores), who are eligible, they expect to be able to reap the reward of the credits they’ve earned thus far. The reality of the situation is far from it. The current requirement to apply for Upper Division Housing is 60 credits. Those 60 credits need to be achieved by the end of the semester preceding the housing lottery, to prevent students from claiming credits from classes which they have yet to actually pass. If they end up failing those classes, they aren’t eligible by credit for UD housing. In the past this has led to the conundrum of needing to fill those spaces, with no good way to do so. In order to rectify that, students now need the 60 credits before the lottery. After asking the overseer of the housing lottery, Tim Caldwell, about these concerns, it seems more plausible that it isn’t necessarily his or even the college’s fault. In his words, “The housing lottery is set up to reward students who have taken the most credits, and usually this would translate into seniors. I have heard it said that some students believe that just because they are Juniors or Seniors they should automatically be placed in Upper Division housing. This is simply not the way the system has worked. I am open to change if GCSA would like to work toward that, but at this time I am simply doing what has been done in the past. Currently Upper Division housing is seen as a privilege, not an automatic. Students in these spaces receive more privileges and the system is set up to allow students who have shown maturity and good judgement to be placed in these spaces.” What can be gleaned from this is that students simply have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the UD housing system is meant to work. Another point of view is clearly articulated by Lauren Stine as follows: “I am going through upper division housing for the first time this year. While I was cleared to live in upper division, it was very confusing. I think the housing lottery process just needs to be revised a little bit, and it should be clearly communicated a long time in advance. The biggest thing that got most people was that they started planning where they wanted to live and then as the housing lottery approached, these people found out they weren’t UD eligible, which was confusing and frustrating to a lot of people. It just could have been communicated clearer.” This has been the general consensus through this year’s housing lottery thus far. In summation, if the information and process is communicated well, much of the confusion, frustration, and backlash will disappear. Food for thought: although Greenville is a four-year residential college (students are expected and incentivised to live on campus housing during their time of study here), the financial benefit for the school is undeniable.
The more students that remain on campus housing, regardless of its level, will bring in far more money than if those same students are living off-campus. In the current economic situation, with the expenses they need to deal with, what more can we expect from them? It is not out of malicious intent or neglect for the student body that these difficulties arise from, merely an institution of higher learning trying to stay afloat in troubled times. They take care of the housing we have, and fairly well at that. The system can never be perfect, and complaining gains us nothing. Focus on the positive, and change what you can to better it for future students.