Fairfield University’s Housing Lottery and Selection for the 2022-2023 academic year recently occurred starting on April 6 and continued over the remainder of that week on April 7 and 8. Groups placed in the Supplemental Housing Selection are designated to pick their housing on April 21 and 22, according to the 2022-2023 Housing Lottery Information Booklet.
Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Residence Life Meredith Smith shared the housing options for the following year.
On-campus juniors and seniors will live in Townhouses or apartment-style living, similar to previous years. Sophomore students will be in “traditional style living,” suite-style and a limited number of apartments. Students living in the apartments will be a part of a Pilot Sophomore Gives Back program. She added that “a third of sophomores will be in the Quad in 42 Langguth (Ignatian Residential College), 70 McCormick and the newly renovated Gonzaga [on the third floor].”
Each year, members in the rising senior class have the opportunity to apply to live off-campus, a popular choice among students. Many members of the class of 2022 currently living at the beach were initially denied release to the beach, according to an April 2021 Mirror article. All students were eventually released, however, as stated in the same article.
It seems as though there was no strife in this year’s release process, according to Smith. She stated that “we released all interested students who applied to be released from their housing contract to off-campus status.” Smith stated that she couldn’t share the exact number of students living off-campus next year, attributing many students deciding to return to on-campus status as the reason.
In addition to the aforementioned renovations planned for Gonzaga Hall, a traditional-style first-year residence that will now include a Sophomore-designated floor, new townhouses are currently being constructed and the remaining unrenovated townhouses will be updated over the summer.
“The new Townhouse construction is to improve the student experience, by bringing the 5-person houses back to 4-person houses in the other blocks,” Smith said. “It’s a net-increase of 9-beds, but 82 beds overall.”
Here, Smith references the fact that two years ago, the Townhouses, which featured four and six-person housing options, were converted to be five-person and six-person options to accommodate for the larger class sizes of both the Class of 2022 and the Class of 2023.
The new townhouses are “best described as a hybrid between current Townhouses and Barnyard Manor,” according to Smith. Barnyard Manor is a fairly new addition to the University, added in Fall 2019.
Barnyard Manor is found on the south side of campus and features mainly eight-person units with single rooms, two full bathrooms and in-unit laundry facilities. This differs from the Townhouses, located near the main entrance to campus, consisting of four and six-person units with communal laundry and shared bedrooms.
Regarding the new townhouses, Smith noted “there is an increased desire for single rooms in the community” and added that an additional laundry room will be added to “support the current townhouse population.” Construction is “on schedule to open this coming Fall.”
Charles Sousa, the senior associate director of housing operations in the Office of Residence Life told the Mirror in November 2021 that determining housing projections is an “inexact science.” He stated that he takes the largest first-year class size and the typical projected percentage of students that live on campus, around 94%, and starts adding those into first-year spaces.
However, at this time, Smith stated that ResLife does “not anticipate the need to convert additional spaces for any of the other classes” and the need for converted triples will be determined once more information about the size of the incoming first-year class is made available to ResLife.
In November 2021, Sousa told the Mirror that sophomore year is typically a year where students “get squeezed a little bit.”
Rising sophomore Jason Strelec was placed into the supplemental housing lottery, meaning he and the rest of his roommates were unable to pick during the initial selection times.
“I was kind of shocked,” Strelec said. “I was unaware of a supplemental lottery, so when we were placed into it, I was kind of at a loss for words.”
During the Housing Lottery for the 2021-2022 Academic Year, there were 70 rising sophomore groups on the housing waitlist, according to Sousa. He attributed this to the popularity of suite-style living options for the Class of 2025. In addition to the 70 rising sophomore groups, there were also 35 rising junior housing groups placed in their own supplemental lottery.
One of the main areas of concern felt by students on the waitlist last year surrounded communication and clarity from ResLife.
Current sophomore Nicholas Distefano was quoted in the 2021 Mirror article saying he felt disappointed in the lack of communication from ResLife and would have preferred it be communicated that there could be a high possibility that “we will be across campus far away from all the other sophomores in our class.”
This concern has not gone away.
Strelec felt that “communication from ResLife was lacking.”
“They sent me only one email notifying me that I was placed in the Supplemental Lottery,” he said. “I had to visit the ResLife office three times to get more clarification on the whole situation.”
Since this rising sophomore class, the Class of 2025, is currently the largest class Fairfield has, some students have raised concerns about the planning that went into the admittance of such a large class.
“I understand that ResLife and Fairfield are working with what they have for housing,” Strelec said. “That being said, it still feels like there was a lack of planning for the influx of freshmen students.”
First-year Colin Lynch was also placed in the Supplemental Housing Lottery, and he echoed Strelec’s sentiments.
“I feel that when the school accepts a certain amount of students, they should know and plan for the next four years how many spots they need for housing, so things like this don’t happen because each year there will be more students accepted than the last at Fairfield’s current rate,” Lynch stated.
And though being placed in the Supplemental Housing Lottery was not ideal, Strelec and Lynch noted that the process to enter the supplemental lottery was not challenging.
According to Strelec, all that had to be done was “reconfigure roommates.” Lynch stated the same thing saying, “the process was very easy to enter the supplemental lottery, all we had to do was remove two of our roommates.”
“Overall, I think the lottery process as a whole could work for the University,” Strelec said. “They just need to work out its kinks if they plan on accepting larger classes each year.”
Smith did not answer the question “How many students are currently in the supplemental housing lottery?” in time for publication.
Smith said that ResLife is “working closely with our partners in Facilities and Student Life to plan for and meet the needs of the students.”
“All rising sophomores currently will be in air-conditioned sophomore-designated spaces, with some in a limited number of apartments participating in the Sophomores Give Back program,” she added.
Smith did not respond with a comment in time for publication to provide more details about the new program for Sophomores.
Another point of contention for students surrounds the transparency about Gender Inclusive Housing options.
Current junior, Giacomo Giardina was quoted in the December 2021 Mirror article saying that the application process to live in Gender Inclusive Housing “went incredibly smooth.” However, he added “unless you count finding out that it exists as part of the process, in which case there was a problem.”
Students interested in learning more about this kind of housing can reach out to ResLife by calling 203-2554-4215 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smith did not provide a response in time for publishing to a question asking how many students currently live in Gender Inclusive Housing and how many students are enrolled to live in Gender Inclusive Housing next year.
Around campus, there has been a buzz about the possibility of a new dorm in the Quad. However, information is not yet available to share about this potential project, according to Smith.
In a Mirror article published on Feb. 16, 2022, according to Sousa, the construction of a new residence hall in the quad is being discussed by ResLife, though it is still in its planning phase.
“The Housing Lottery is a process,” Smith said. “We are here to support students find a home in our Residential Campus communities and will prioritize students ensuring students stay with their chosen direct roommate.”
The Mirror will continue to update on housing and construction as more information becomes available.