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Procedure differs by hall for Notre Dame residents

Patrick Moore | Monday, April 10, 2006

From searching for the perfect single to deciding who would be the perfect roommate, the intricacies of Notre Dame’s room selection process are sending some students into panic mode – while others enjoy the luck of their great room pick.

Room selection within Notre Dame residence halls is typically based upon randomization and seniority. Many halls, however, add a personal touch to the sometimes-complicated process, which begins this week.

Some halls, like Dillon Hall and Morrissey Manor, receive lottery numbers from Notre Dame’s Office of Residence Life and Housing. Others, such as Alumni Hall and Carroll Hall, use an internal selection process.

Carroll’s room pick ceremony allows residents to receive their lottery number through the use of a computer program that assigns numbers electronically.

Carroll residents gather in the lounge around a big screen TV to watch what Carroll rector Father Jim Lewis described as “a kind of vertical ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ replete with sound effects.”

While positive sounds – like an Alleluia Chorus – accompany good numbers, Lewis decided those who are down on their luck could do without the sound effects.

“The music was funny, but the one who gets a bad number usually doesn’t need people laughing at his misfortune,” he said.

Students “floating” between dorms in hopes of living in a single are handled according to individual dorm rules and room availability.

Alumni rector Father George Rozum said floaters are placed in the hall’s lottery, giving them virtually the same chance as any other resident.

But Badin rector Anne Napoli said she automatically places floaters at the bottom of her list – barring extenuating circumstances – while Dillon rector Paul Doyle fills all singles internally and leaves no room for floaters.

Unlike most dorms at Notre Dame, Doyle said Dillon residents have the option to “freeze” their rooms, allowing students to remain in the same dorm room for two consecutive years.

Pasquerilla East sophomore Katie Napleton said while she lives in a dorm where room dimensions do not vary, she thinks the University’s overall room selection process is “pretty fair.”

“[In my dorm] people basically do room picks on section preference rather than differences between rooms,” she said.

Knott junior Brooks Wunder said although the process is never error-free, “there is no perfect way to go about it … but [selection process organizers] do the best they can.

“Guys don’t really care,” he said, “but somehow girls always end up fighting and crying.”

This scenario, however, was not the case for freshmen roommates Leeah Kohley and Rebecca Gannon, who will room together in McGlinn again next year after developing a close friendship.

“It’s pretty keen that we not only get along, but we’re actually really good friends,” Kohley said. “We have a lot of hijinks and I honestly couldn’t imagine rooming with another person next year.”

Even though Kohley’s roommate’s good lottery number allowed them to have a decent choice of a double, she said she believes the procedure is not perfectly fair.

“I know some girls in forced triples this year who think they should’ve gotten first pick for next year, which I sort of agree with since they had less space this year,” she said.

Dillon freshman Jason Nowak was not as fortunate, receiving the 95th room pick out of 95 freshmen. He said he believes a completely random lottery is unfair.

“I have last pick and I’ve done nothing wrong, whereas people who have gotten [sanctions from the Office of Residence Life and Housing] and everything are much higher than me,” he said. “Even people with multiple ‘ResLifes’ are above me.”