Recent storms affect senior off-campus housing

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Irene delayed move-in for the class of 2012.

Sandy halted beach life for the class of 2013.

For the class of 2014, a surge of acceptance letters this spring is the last anticipated beach life variable.

For this reason, Associate Director of Residence Life Charlie Sousa is “still waiting for the dust to settle.”

Almost all rising seniors who applied to forego Fairfield’s four-year housing guarantee have secured residency near the shore; however, some parties are still getting hammered through the process.

If the class of 2017’s acceptance rate is higher than currently estimated, more seniors will need to vacate space on campus for the incoming freshmen.

The admissions office has a goal of 925 to 950 students for the class of 2017. “Keep in mind, though, that despite all of our predictive modeling, we’re making guesses about the whims and desires of 17 and 18 year olds,” said Alison Hildenbrand, Associate Director of Admission.

“Ultimately, the class could be larger than our goal when our enrollment deadline comes.”

To wait out the spring admission process, a wait list has been created for rising seniors who missed the off-campus housing application process or simply did not get picked in the release lottery.

There are no unwritten criteria for release. As Sousa puts it, the off-campus housing lottery is “like every other lottery process – random.” Those who have not yet been released literally did not have paper strips labeled with their applicant groups selected from a hat.

RELEASE DELAY

This month’s blizzard – dubbed “Nemo” – prevented staff from picking those paper strips from a hat for two days.

This, in turn, pushed back the release announcement – an event that had been anticipated by applicants for months.

Junior Nicole Dougherty had been waiting for that Friday release announcement. “I was frustrated,” she said, “… I was frustrated because I was expecting a good weekend and I didn’t get it.”

Some juniors’ would-be landlords had demanded security deposits be transferred on beach houses on that Friday, Feb. 15.

DEPOSIT STRIFE

“[Our would-be landlord] really wanted the money as soon as possible … we obviously wanted to get released first so she couldn’t just take the cash and run with it,” Sean Dunphy ’14 told The Mirror.

His group’s parents had the deposit checks ready for the weekend, a meeting was scheduled to finalize the lease at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, but the landlord called that morning and told Dunphy’s group that they lost their house to a group of non-student renters.

Dunphy’s group has scrambled for new houses and should know where they will live next year by Friday, but the snow still stung. “I don’t think the storm should’ve affected [the lottery] because it delayed two days,” Dunphy said.

“I look at it as we’re a capitalist society,” Sousa said, “… I know some landlords having worked down at the beach and then there’s a group of landlords that will do what they will. They are more about the money than the students.

“… I hear a lot about landlords. I know there are some landlords that are not good landlords. But I know some that are very good landlords.”

Some who rent to students near the beach include Ignatian Residential College mentors and friends of Fairfield staff.

THE TIDE COMES IN

While so many trials have pulled at Fairfield’s beach students in recent school memory, the rising underclassmen can still anticipate that coveted coastland for the foreseeable future.

Sousa estimated the release every year to be “generally around 50 percent of the class,” adding, “If it’s a big class it can get more.”

Already, the traditional beach life mentality seems to creeping up in the rising seniors: “I was ultimately not bothered with the beach delay,” said Michael Greubel ’14, “I’m excited to live at the beach next year – cool.”

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