Tufts sent out lottery numbers to eligible students of all class years on Jan. 21, about one month after first-year students were told they would receive their lottery information. In the intervening weeks, uncertainty abounded among first-years seeking clarity on their housing plans for the coming academic year.
Confusion and disappointment characterize the student body’s reactions to this year’s on-campus housing policies. Due to a shortage of beds, approximately 100 members of the Class of 2025 are currently being housed at the Hyatt Place Medford rather than in Tufts residence halls.
Tufts promised the students living in the hotel that they would receive priority lottery numbers to make up for their housing assignment this year, True Becker, a Hyatt resident, explained.
Joshua Hartman, senior director of Residential Life and Learning, confirmed that the housing lottery does indeed prioritize Hyatt residents.
“Hyatt residents will receive lower numbers than all other sophomores, giving them preferential status,” Hartman wrote in an email to the Daily. “Juniors and seniors will be given the opportunity to select before sophomores, as has always been the case.”
Becker, a first-year, and other Hyatt residents have dealt with some challenges while living off campus, including navigating an unreliable shuttle system at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, Becker says he made the most of his experience and developed a close-knit community with fellow first-years at the hotel.
“Once they fixed the shuttle situation, there’s shuttles every 20 minutes,” Becker said. “So it only takes an extra 10 minutes to get to campus. … I think it has been a positive experience for some students, mainly because most of my close friends are from the Hyatt.”
Becker also explained that being guaranteed a low housing lottery number helped to make up for some of the inconveniences of being housed in the hotel.
Hartman told the Daily that the university does not anticipate housing students in the hotel next year.
“We are reviewing all of our options for adding new on-campus beds for the Fall of 2022, and once those plans are finalized, we will share them with students,” Hartman wrote. “Right now, we are not planning to use the Hyatt next year.”
Rising campus population has necessitated the adding of beds on campus for incoming students.
“Over the past five years, we have added more than 450 on-campus beds,” Hartman wrote. “We are also planning to build a new, high-density on-campus residence hall.”
The Class of 2025 is Tufts’ largest on record, and its size has already created some challenges, as evidenced by the need for housing in a satellite location.
Nonetheless, ORLL does not anticipate any major changes to campus housing assignments for the fall 2022 semester.
”There may be slight adjustments in some of the smaller buildings, but we do not anticipate any major shifts in the ways we assign the current student housing stock,” Hartman wrote. “We do, however, plan to offer more apartments for sophomores than we have been able to in the past.”
Buildings that offer apartment-style living for rising sophomores include Latin Way and Hillside Apartments. Juniors and seniors with lottery numbers can also live in these buildings and have priority over sophomores in the housing lottery.
Now that lottery numbers have been sent out, the next step for students is group formation.
Some first-year students have found the release of the housing lottery somewhat overwhelming.
“When people are talking about [the lottery], everyone’s a little on edge,” Becker said. “Everyone’s so hyper focused on needing the perfect number.”
Anya Chan agrees with Becker’s assessment.
“It’s been a little stressful trying to form groups … with everyone vying for people with [lower] numbers,” Chan, a first-year, said. “I think it’s pretty complicated.”
Still, she does not begrudge the advantage that the Hyatt residents have in the lottery process.
“Commuting from the Hyatt to campus every single day is … a lot of work,” Chan said. “So I think they deserve it. It’s crazy that they got put into the Hyatt in the first place.”