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Students prepare for apartments

Nicole Zook | Friday, February 11, 2005

By about the time second semester begins, most students already have a good idea their living arrangements for the next school year. But some Saint Mary’s students only recently received word of what their situation will be.

According to Director of Residence Life Michelle Russell, only about half of the more than 140 applicants for apartments in Opus Hall will be living there during the 2005-06 school year.

The hall, which opened to students last year after months of construction, is able to house 24 students in double apartments and 48 students in quads. Russell said Residence Life received about two times as many applications as spaces available.

“We had about 20 [group applications] for four for 12 apartments, and 30 applications for two [for 12 apartments],” Russell said. “I thought it went as expected. It was a good turnout in terms of the number of applications we had, and it went as we planned and expected it would go.”

Interested students attended mandatory information sessions, applied, made a housing deposit by the deadline and qualified by graduating in May 2006 and not being under academic or disciplinary probation. Then each application was numbered and randomly chosen from a drawing.

Russell said she feels this is the fairest way possible to assign the limited number of apartments.

“We’re always going to evaluate this process and make sure it is the most fair process for everyone,” she said. “I think right now we feel that this process should remain a random lottery, that no preference should be given [to anyone] so that we are giving every senior an equal opportunity to get an apartment.”

The hall has become a popular option for junior students because of its on-campus location and various amenities not available in the College’s four regular dormitories.

The apartments feature a separate room for each resident, a general living area and a kitchen. Included in each one is cable and Internet access, water, gas and electricity. Each of the floors also has a lounge with a fireplace and big screen television for student use.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to live on campus in these beautiful apartments,” junior Jill Vlasek said.

Vlasek was informed Jan. 28 that she and roommate Katie Kelly had been lucky enough to get a double apartment for next year. She said she felt “a little bit pressured” by the scarcity of apartments available.

“I know there were a lot of applicants, but we had other options, so if we didn’t get an apartment we would have had other places to live,” Vlasek said. “I know that there were quite a few girls that were really upset, but they’re looking into other options.”

Junior Erin Jones said she was only a little disappointed that she and her chosen roommate did not get an apartment.

“Every single one of my friends besides my roommate and I got in. I think everybody wanted it, and I don’t think anybody wanted to be the people that didn’t get in,” she said. “Everybody wanted to, and even though we’re friends they were still happy about it.”

Jones said she was not devastated by the announcement because the lottery was fair, and plans to live in LeMans Hall rather than seek an off-campus apartment.

“I’ll still have the roommate that I wanted to live with in the apartment, but we won’t be in the same building as the rest of our friends. But I think my friendship with my roommate will compensate for that,” Jones said. She jokingly added, “I hope my friendships with my other friends will be able to sustain the football-field length that will be between us.”