Curry Housing Selection Concludes, Leaving Some Wanting More

BY COLE McNANNA // APRIL 9, 2016 //

While our culture has a tendency to obsess over “who’s first,” very little attention is paid to who is last.

Just four days ago, the housing selection kicked off for the fall 2016 semester, and the highly anticipated excel spreadsheet was gratifyingly projected onto the hanging screen in the Dr. Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz Gymnasium.

Community Director Tom Sawicki manned the microphone and organized the masses into lines according to the oh-so-coveted lottery numbers.

Ah yes, the fateful Lottery Number. The random number given to students (who pay their housing deposit on time) that is the deciding factor as to whether you’ll be close to your friends, or classes, in the coming year.

A very different looking gymnasium, set up for the housing selection process // Photo by Cole McNanna
A very different looking gymnasium, set up for the housing selection process // Photo by Cole McNanna

Those with the lowest numbers ensure that they will be getting the best selection, and those in the middle are left in limbo; until the time comes for them to condense into a line to see what’s still available.

Roommates can help each other out, and the higher-numbered roommate can ride the coattails of their more fortunate roommate and avoid being separated. However, as the lottery numbers continued to increase, the number of students did not match that pace.

With many of the upperclassmen housing having already been selected, current sophomore Alex Paul from Brooklyn, New York stepped into line a little bit before 9 p.m. to find he was left with very limited options.

His assigned pick, #330, was not the last registered number, but he was surely the last junior participant – for, as far as the eyes could see, hordes of freshmen accounted for the gymnasium’s remaining population.

The line had constantly been filling up and quieting down since the night had begun, but Paul was last one to join the line and he settled for a room with a random roommate in White House on the South Side of campus.

One of the last students goes to see where he will be living // Photo by Cole McNanna
One of the last students goes to see where he will be living // Photo by Cole McNanna

Not only was he the last rising junior to pick, he is one of the oldest in the class – having already turned 21. Being a transfer student-athlete on the basketball team, Paul was placed in State House for this past academic year.

“It was unfortunate this year because I’m a transfer and they put me in State House… I’m 21, and they put me in State House,” Paul said in disbelief, after it was all said and done. “I’m gonna be 22 next year and I feel like if you’re older you should have that housing [on the south side].”

Paul added that “it was unfortunate this year…I can’t say that I’m happy, I just wish I got up there…What are the odds?”

One positive out of Paul’s situation was that he was not the absolute final person to select their housing. That distinct privilege belongs to 18 year-old freshman Anthony Nolasco, hailing from Beverley, Mass.

Nolasco, also a student-athlete on the football team, joined the line over two hours after his older teammate to see even fewer options.

The gymnasium had now seen hundreds of students select their housing for next year and Nolasco’s pick (#377) was the final one of the night — much to the jubilation of the Residence Life staff who had been carrying out the selection process for the duration of the two-day period.

Nolasco, who currently resides in Lombard Hall, saw plenty of rooms that he wanted to live in. He said he had originally hoped to live in 886 Brush Hill Road. Nolasco said he wanted that location because he likes the building, and all of his friends will be living there.

Instead, he had to accept a room in State House, (coincidentally, the same room number as his room this past year) where he will be “all alone. No friends. Stuck with freshmen.”

“It was very bad, seeing everything disappear and getting your hopes up for a room and it’s gone,” Nolasco said, snapping his fingers. He went on to say that, “You get to slowly watch everyone take the room that you wanted.”

Despite drawing the shortest straw possible, Nolasco did find solace in the Residence Life staff who were “very nice” in handling the culmination of an exhausting two-night, fast-paced marathon Lottery Draft.

These two young men now hold the distinct honor in being the 2016 Housing Lottery Selection’s equivalent of the NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant.

They can only get better numbers next year, right?

What to Expect at Housing Selection

BY JACOB LACE // APRIL 4, 2016 //

To some, the start of spring means baseball, weddings, T-shirts and a cheaper heating bill. But for 18- to 22-year-olds it’s worrying about where to live on their respective college or university’s campus.

At the start of every calendar year, Curry College sends out information on the Housing Lottery that takes place at the beginning of each April. The process of Room and Board agreements and housing deposits starts as early as late January, and the department of Residence Life gathers their list of housing-eligible students to send out random lottery numbers.

Of the approximately 1,500 students living on campus, 96 percent of students who are eligible for housing participate in the lottery. 19 residence halls for a small school such as Curry seems like plenty of room for students to live, yet every student hears from their respective grape vines which dorms are better than others.

And while a previous article “How to Survive the Curry Housing Lottery” described the Housing Lottery as it pertains to a student’s point of view, there’s a side that can be told from the perspective of the director of Residence Life, Stephanie Alliette. When it comes to surviving the “Lottery Games,” Alliette knows more than a few things.

The housing checklist that is available on the Student Portal “outlines everything you need to do leading up to [lottery] selection” and is a “good point of reference” to keep yourself organized for when it comes time to pick where to live, she said. The college’s website offers useful information, too.

Alliette also noted that coming prepared with a couple of back-up plans is important in case your original wish-list of rooms get picked before it’s your turn.

Suite selection comes first, along with single-room selection, falling this year on Wednesday, April 6. The following day is general housing selection for all other student housing.

The Suites and SCRH on South Campus usually fill up immediately with upper-classmen looking to stay around each other in the apartment-style housing. Also, you’re allowed to have alcohol in your room if everyone is at least 21 years old. This leaves houses and underclassmen residence halls for the choosing.

Alliette said a common problem students face is when they don’t “do their homework” and check on their housing class standing or make sure all of their paperwork is accounted for. Making your list and checking it twice should be duly noted.

After selection is over, students can change their housing. However, the chances of having the room that they want after the process is slim.

Whether you’re a freshman worrying about where your friends are living or a junior wondering if you want an apartment or a house, getting a little help is OK. Alliette and the rest of the Residence Life staff have acquired knowledge from helping students every year; all you need to do is ask.

Being able to “live to tell a tale of how they survived the lottery” is a story that all students can brag about. The battle for places to live is indeed a battle.

Dorm Life: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

BY COLE MCNANNA // APRIL 23, 2015 //

With a new class of students moving onto campus come September, I thought it best to let them know the good, the bad and the ugly concerning dorm life. Because everyone lives different experiences, though, I asked around to find out what others on campus thought.

To be sure, there were a wide variety of responses when residents were asked, “What are the best and the worst things about living in a residence hall?”

The most unusual reply was that Mayflower, an older first-year residence hall, offered a “homey” living experience. Junior Ana Pearson reflected on her first year, and noted that she had a beautiful view of the sunset from her bedroom window. Pearson remarked that she really enjoyed the unique view, which helped set the tone for the rest of her year.

South Campus Residence Hall (SCRH).
South Campus Residence Hall (SCRH).

As sophomores living in 886, survey respondents gave positive responsesabout the increase in room size and the upkeep of the building.Another positive is the presence of an elevator in 886. Many students benefitted from being able to move quickly up and down the floors.

For juniors and seniors surveyed, Suites came into play. Suites give a sense of the future. Apartment-style living gives a peak into what life may look like after Curry.

Residents surveyed praised the common areas in residence halls on North Side. Common areas are a good place to get studying done, but are also a good place to hang out during the day. Common areas offer flat-screen TVs, tables and chairs .

Also, free laundry may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but “free” is many college students’ favorite word.

Some students felt that the ability to control heat and air conditioning—in buildings where it applies—was among the best parts of dorm life. It was one of the most common and highly ranked positive responses, and does come into play on a New England campus where the weather changes every 20 minutes.

The second-best aspect of life on the North Side of campus is the close proximity to the academic quad, said those surveyed. When you don’t quite want to get out of bed in the morning before your 8:30 a.m. statistics class, you can still get to class in less than five minutes.

Finally, the best thing about campus life in residence halls is the comradery and friendship you build with roommates and neighbors. Especially during the first week or so of freshmen year, everyone is hoping to meet new people and make new friends right off the bat.

As with most things in life, there are good things and bad things about living on-campus. Some student complaints included living on the third floor in a building without an elevator, loud vacuuming during early-morning hours, the walls being thin enough to hear your neighbors, the disrespect of quiet hours, a consistent “weird” smell haunting Mayflower, the uphill walk to classes, and frequent fire alarms.

The third-most common complaint was damage charges. Most of the time, you don’t receive notice of the charge until weeks after the damage is done. Worse, residents wind up paying for something that wasn’t their fault.

Another complaint is more of an awkward nuisance than anything else—showering with flip-flops on. It’s a major adjustment coming from your own clean shower at home to sharing showers with floor-mates.

Lastly, the most common negative response was the mess in the bathrooms. Sometimes people don’t flush or clean off the toilet seat when they miss, and trash bins often get overfilled. The list can go on and on regarding the nasty thing people do in residence hall bathrooms, and most readers know exactly what I’m talking about.

But in the end, I received far more positive responses than negative ones, which I was a little surprised about. And they all came straight from the source!

Massive Snowfall, Ice Causing Dorm Leaks

BY ALANA SANTOS // FEB. 16, 2015 //

Most students have enjoyed the many snow-day class cancellations this semester. But it seems the snow is finally raining on some students’ parades. Or, at least, dripping on them.

Fifteen residence hall rooms have experienced water damage and leakage from snow buildup and ice dams on the roofs. Ten rooms were affected in Lombard, three in Mayflower, and one each in Green House and 886 Brush Hill Road.

Although the affected residents were offered temporary housing options in their own residence halls, that’s the only thing they’ll receive for their dripping wet troubles. According to Fran Jackson, director of communication at Curry, none of the students inconvenienced by the leaks and water damage will receive compensation. But they also won’t be charged additional fees for any temporary room upgrades, she added.

Although college officials have deemed the leaking rooms safe to live in, walls and ceilings will still need to be scraped down, repaired and repainted...a messy and time-consuming process.
Although college officials have deemed the leaking rooms safe to live in, walls and ceilings will still need to be scraped down, repaired and repainted…a messy and time-consuming process.

For freshmen roommates Shauna Nickerson and Danielle Montella, it has been a frustrating week.

“Friday morning (Feb. 6) at 1 a.m. I was sleeping and water started dripping on my head,” said Nickerson, a nursing major who lives in Lombard.

She said she was forced to set up buckets to catch falling water. Nickerson contacted Building and Grounds and said she was advised to move her bed to the middle of her room, keep her light off, and tough it out until the damage could be assessed. In the meantime, Nickerson moved in with a friend at North Campus Residence Hall before she was offered alternative housing days later.

The damage “started at the window and worked its way across the ceiling, down the wall, and into the light fixture, which broke and started leaking a lovely yellow color,” said Montella, also a nursing major. She noted that water bubbles had formed on the walls and ceiling, and they eventually popped, omitting a foul smell.

Montella reached out to her community director as well as Public Safety because she was afraid of an electrical hazard since water began to collect in the light fixture. She said she was told to be patient, as buildings throughout campus were experiencing leaks. A day later, when no one had come to inspect the damage, Montella had her mother call the college. The following day Buildings and Grounds finally arrived.

Montella said her mother was not happy having to step in and contact school officials.

“They didn’t offer me alternative housing until I had already decided to move out,” said Montella. “Shauna’s stuff was getting leaked all over and I had basically had enough by then.”

Snowfall throughout eastern Massachusetts this year has already reached historic levels, with a record-breaking 89 inches in Boston alone.

“I understand it isn’t the college’s fault, but they took too long to deal with the problem,” said Montella, who has opted to move back home and commute to Curry for the remainder of the semester. “And [they] identified the room as safe to stay in when, in my opinion, it wasn’t.”

The entire region has been digging out from the unprecedented amount of snow over the past month. On campus, the Buildings and Grounds crew has worked tirelessly to clear roads, walkways, stairs, and parking lots, said Jackson. To help with the leaks, the college has turned to outside resources to further assist with the snow and ice removal from building rooftops.

Natural Selection

BY KELSEY MARCHETTI // NOV. 19, 2012 //

This is not a fire drill.

In actuality, it’s far more real, more natural and organic. Like a swarm of bees hovering around their hive.

Freshman biology major Christian Rodriguez thinks the front of Lombard Hall is a “great place to meet up.” // PHOTO BY KELSEY MARCHETTI

Walk past Lombard Hall, one of Curry’s freshmen residence halls, on most any Friday at around 11 p.m. and you’re bound to see countless students milling about doing absolutely nothing in particular. On a good night, there are close to 75 kids aimlessly wandering. Some are all dressed up with no place to go. Others are downright grubby in sweats and baseball caps. For as far as the eye can see, students are sitting and standing, talking and flirting, arguing and laughing.

The thing is, it’s not entirely clear why they’re doing these things there.

“It’s a great place to meet up,” said freshman Christian Rodriguez, a biology major. “It’s right in the middle of State [House] and NCRH. It’s the halfway point between the dorms, so it’s a good place to meet new people or old friends. Obviously, some do a little drinking or grab a quick cigarette. I think it’s a good way to see what other people are up to.”

More often than not, they’re not doing much of anything. According to a number of first-year students, there simply isn’t that much to do on campus Friday nights. And it has become a chicken-and-egg problem: Do students leave campus for the weekend because they’re unsatisfied with the weekend social life at Curry, or is the weekend social life rather dull because so many students leave campus on the weekends?

“When I toured the school, I was told a lot of people stay on weekends. Now I realize that the school is more of a suitcase school,” said freshman Katie LeBlond, a nursing major.

Curry’s Student Activities office is working to produce more weekend events, as is the student-led social activities club SEE. But without fraternities and sororities at Curry, or off-campus housing that’s within walking distance, there simply are a lack of parties that students crave.

So, first-year students have made their own little party—outside Lombard.

“Students meet up with friends there because it’s a common hanging spot for freshmen,” said LeBlond. “They go to socialize with their friends because there are benches and fences they can sit on.”

Added freshman Jamie Cassagrande, a communication major: “There are typically a lot of people there at night when there are no scheduled activities, but it would be unreasonable for Curry to schedule activities all hours of the night.”

By around 2 a.m., students tend to buzz off to their own designated areas, whether it’s a friend’s dorm to hang out or their own dorm room to get some sleep. Sooner or later, though, they will again gather outside Lombard during another evening of boredom, a swarm of students simply looking for a good time.