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As new dorm and apartment housing goes up, Fairfield students are becoming increasingly worried that the University will use all these empty new rooms as an excuse to shut down student housing at the Beach for good.

But Fairfield administrators insist such a move will not happen. “The Beach is here to stay,” Director of Residence Life Charlie Sousa said last week.

“We are taking what we have on campus and making it better,” said Sousa.  Dolan will be apartment style for juniors, the new dorms will be completed and Townhouses will be 4 and 6 students, he said. These changes, however, do not upset the number of students living off-campus.

“The Beach is not something that’s ever going away,” said Sousa. Sousa said this rumor comes from Mirror articles written in the past with little evidence to back them up.

The number of students living off-campus fluctuates each year because of numbers – not because administration is trying to stop students from living at the beach. In the class of 2011, only 75 students did not get released off campus through the off-campus lottery.

The number of people living at the Beach “depends on on-campus occupancy,” he said, noting there must be 100% occupancy on campus before seniors can be let off campus.

Because Fairfield is a not-for-profit organization, there must be a balanced budget every year. “Each bed must be filled,” Sousa said, and this depends on three factors: incoming freshman class size, the number of study abroad students and transfer rates. These three factors determine the number of students let off-campus for the year.

Last year, he said, the off-campus lottery took place in the fall semester. There were then two other releases later in the year. However, this year it will take place in February so the university is aware of the freshman class size. There will also be only one lottery.

The risk that students take year after year signing their lease, a legal document, and paying their deposits, which range anywhere from about $8,000 – $18,000 is something that they are willing to do to ensure their pick for senior year.

“My roommates and I signed our lease first semester of sophomore year. You have to do it early if you want to get a good house,” said Elizabeth Mainiero’11.

Emily Ryan’11 explained, “I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time but my parents were extremely apprehensive. I knew most of the upperclassmen got off before us, so I wasn’t worried.”

KC Boyd’12 said, “even with all of the rumors of the decreasing number of students living on the Beach, I didn’t want to loose my house so my roommates and I signed our lease last year.” Boyd explained that most of her friends did the same thing. “If we don’t get off campus right away, we’ll figure it out,” she said.

Caleigh Tansey’12, who plans to live at the beach next year, agreed. “We have one of the best houses on the Beach so it’s worth the chance.”

This topic is not a new discussion for Fairfield. Year after year students write about, talk about or complain about the numerous rumors that come up about the off-campus lottery and the decreased number of students living on the beach.

In 2009, a writer in The Mirror wrote an article about the end of the beach living and stated that the class of 2010 would be the last class to live at Fairfield Beach. Obviously that is not true for the class of 2011 and, according to Sousa, it is false for years to come.

Fairfield students have been living on the beach since the 60s. At that time, most of the juniors and seniors lived there. In recent years, the University and the town of Fairfield have made an agreement that only a certain number of students can live off campus.

Incoming freshmen at Fairfield are required to sign a contract that says they will live on campus all four years. The only way to get out of this contract is through the off-campus lottery or through going abroad.

Rising seniors have the opportunity to apply for the off-campus lottery. Although tweaks are made to the lottery process every year, the lottery will be around for a long time.

Stags of all ages look forward to the exciting beach life filled with senior traditions that are never forgotten. Evan Ganley’14 said “I came to Fairfield excited to live on the Beach senior year just like my older brother did.”

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