ORLL changes housing arrangements for 2021–22 academic year, rising sophomores scramble

West Hall is pictured. Sophie Dolan / The Tufts Daily

The Office of Residential Life and Learning recently introduced changes to underclassmen housing assignments for the 2021–22 academic year. West Hall, which has previously served as sophomore housing, will now be used to house incoming first-years, and Carpenter House, which housed first-years, will now house sophomores.

Angy Sosa, associate director for residential operations, said that West Hall was chosen to be converted to first-year housing because of its proximity to other first-year dorms. 

“West Hall is a great set up for first year students given the housing designations and its proximity to other first year communities uphill,” Sosa wrote in an email to the Daily. 

Josh Hartman, director of residential life and learning, said that using West Hall as a first-year dorm will ensure there is enough housing for the incoming class. 

“Throughout the pandemic, Residential Life has adapted to changing demand, numbers and restrictions, and we continue to adjust as we deal with fall planning,” Hartman wrote in an email to the Daily. “Using West Hall in this way will enable us to accommodate our incoming [first-years].”

Hartman said that Carpenter House, which served as first-year housing this year, will be sophomore housing during the 2021–22 academic year. 

“Carpenter House will be returning to its previously designated space as sophomore housing, which offers more double options for our students,” Hartman said in an email to the Daily. “The few groups who were not approved for doubles this year have since been approved.” 

Hartman explained that the Office of Residential Life and Learning has had to adapt to changing demand for housing, despite not knowing the size of the incoming first-year class. 

“It’s too soon to know the exact size of the incoming class … those numbers will become apparent over the next few months as we learn about the plans of admitted students and those who deferred enrollment last year,” Hartman said. 

As a result of these changes, many rising sophomores faced difficulties during the housing selection process. Rising sophomores who had planned to apply for a quad in West Hall were forced to shift their plans when the Office of Residential Life and Learning announced at the last minute that it was no longer available for rising sophomores.

Kami Lou Harris, a first-year, explained her experience with the housing selection process. She had planned to apply for a quad in West Hall with three others but was notified the day of group formation that West Hall would no longer be available to rising sophomores. 

The Office of Residential Life and Learning’s decision to make this change was publicized to students in an email, which was sent just hours before group formation was supposed to occur, at 8 p.m. Harris detailed stress and drama in terms of having to rearrange numbers and reform groups and emphasized her frustration at the situation.

“They shouldn’t have to turn sophomore housing into [first-year] housing,” Harris said. “The only thing that irritated me was that they did this so last minute … they should have told us this sooner.”

Without West, students who had planned to live in the building’s quads had to select other options. This created a domino effect, causing other rising sophomores to be rejected for triples or doubles.

This was the case for first-year Julie Katz. 

“I ended up applying for a triple with my lottery number, 3224, being the best [of my group],” Katz wrote in an email to the Daily. “Around 10:00 we finally received an email saying we did not get the triple and all of us [were] in general selection.” 

Rising sophomores were assigned lottery numbers from 2500 to 5000.

Katz said that West Hall being converted to first-year housing limited the housing options for rising sophomores. 

“I feel like my housing situation and many others got messed up because of the last minute pull of West,” she said. “I feel like many people who were going for the four person suites then changed to 6 person, triples or doubles making the competition for those rooms a lot harder.”

Sosa added that, because Carpenter House will now be used for sophomore housing, students who were initially rejected for doubles will now qualify. 

“Adding in Carpenter house will allow for those double groups to qualify,” Sosa said.

However, students who were put into general selection are still struggling. 

“I basically am going into general selection blind,” Katz said. “I have no clue what is available and won’t know until ‘late in the evening of April 8, 2021.’ I don’t know when my timeslot is, how long it is, or what is available to me. I could be buildings away from my friends or we could try to hopefully fill a room together in general or just try to get in the same building. The odds are slim because our lottery numbers are not close to each other. I could basically be living anywhere with anyone at the moment. I can’t plan anything because I have no clue what I’m in store for.” 


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