Stiles juniors struggle for space in Swing

After Ezra Stiles allowed annexed juniors to “opt in” to Swing Space, more rooms were requested than were available.
After Ezra Stiles allowed annexed juniors to “opt in” to Swing Space, more rooms were requested than were available. Photo by Sarah Eckinger.

Rising juniors in Ezra Stiles College scrambled to reorganize suite configurations after more members of their class volunteered to live in Swing Space than could be accommodated.

Swing Space has suites of two singles, a common room, a private bathroom and a kitchenette, and serves as the annex for Stiles, Morse, Trumbull and Berkeley Colleges. Beginning last year, rising juniors in Stiles were allowed to “opt in” to Swing Space before the housing lottery took place, and current sophomores said opting in was popular this year because living in Swing Space would guarantee them a single and allow them to avoid the stress of the housing process. But as many students began signing up to live in Swing Space, Ezra Stiles Dean Camille Lizarribar warned the class of 2014 in a March 25 email that if the system proved ineffective, the college could need to re-evaluate its opt-in policy in the future.

“I have received numerous requests for Swing Space, and we may or may not have too many students who have asked to opt in,” Lizarribar wrote in the email, sent before the number of available rooms in Swing Space had been determined. “The point of opting into Swing was to make being annexed less anxiety-provoking, not more, and if this system doesn’t work then we may need to rethink the option of opting in.”

Lizarribar declined to comment for this article.

Stiles students who opted in to Swing Space were told that housing requests would be granted based on the order in which they were received. Lizarribar wrote in her email that the number of slots available in Swing Space depended on how many seniors chose to live on campus in the coming academic year.

Two students said they preferred Swing Space for its apartment-style setup, and all nine interviewed said students “opted in” to the annex because they wanted an assured single, which the housing lottery would not guarantee.

“I think most people figured, ‘Well, this way I’ll be guaranteed a single and can avoid the housing draw, so here goes,'” Julie Aust ’14 said. “The problem was that everyone was thinking the same thing.”

Once the number of rooms in Swing Space was set, Lizarribar notified students by email the night before the lottery if they had “opted in” but did not receive one of the 28 spots. These students had until 5 p.m. the next day — Wednesday of last week — to reorganize themselves into groups, as singles were not guaranteed.

Grace Bang ’14 said students found the quick turnaround stressful, since they had less than 24 hours to determine their housing configurations.

“A bunch of people were denied and initially very disappointed,” said Bang, who received a room in Swing Space. “They were trying to reconfigure their whole rooming situation, and they weren’t given much of a time frame to do it.”

Nathaniel Dolquist ’14, who did not get a place in Swing Space, said mixed-gender housing helped students reshuffle by giving them more options for creating groups or joining existing arrangements before the lottery.

Lucy Arthur-Paratley ’14 said the Stiles housing draw, held last Thursday, seemed to work out for most students.

Though Morse, Trumbull and Berkeley also send large contingents to live in Swing Space, their policies — which differ from Stiles’s “opt-in” one — did not cause similar problems.

Morse College opened Swing Space to rising seniors in addition to rising juniors this year, according to a March 18 email from the Morse housing committee. A March 22 email said Swing Space would not be able to accommodate most interested rising juniors, and encouraged them to make alternate plans.

“Swing Space has proved very popular among the members of the Morse Class of 2013 this year,” the March 18 email said. “They are consequently being allowed to enter the Swing draw for next year, and will be given priority over members of the Class of 2014.”

Morse conducted a “Swing draw” on March 27, the week before the senior and junior draws. Rising juniors and rising seniors entered the draw in pairs, and nearly all of the spots were filled by rising seniors. After the Swing Space draw, Morse Dean Joel Silverman postponed the senior and junior housing draws by one day in response to students’ requests for additional time to reorganize, the housing committee wrote in a March 29 email.

In Berkeley, rising juniors who wanted to be in Swing Space registered on the housing website whiteboard as “doubles.” Students then picked their suites — in Swing Space or otherwise — in the order of their lottery numbers, but were told that students in Swing Space would be “reconfigured back” into Berkeley if the college did not reach capacity.

In Trumbull, Swing Space rooms were allocated the same way as any other suites. Trumbull Dean Jasmina Besirevic-Regan said the college “in general” has no issues with Swing Space.

Silverman and Berkeley Dean Mia Genoni did not respond to requests for comment.

In the 2010-’11 academic year, Berkeley, Trumbull, Morse, Ezra Stiles, Saybrook, Timothy Dwight and Silliman all annexed students to Swing Space.

Comments

  • MikeConrad

    I always had the utmost sympathy for Morse & Stiles residents. Can’t blame them at all for doing anything they can to improve their lot. Just hope the new colleges have more attractive (and upscale even!) accommodations. We all know Yale has no trouble attracting applicants. But that’s no reason to punish anyone once they have arrived! And (according to the ‘experts’ on College Confidential anyway) the quality of accommodations carries *some* implications with respect to admissions yields.

    • morse_14

      I’d actually argue that Morse and Stiles have the best housing on campus. The only reason that people are going to Swing Space, at least from Morse, is because the draw happens earlier, and they want a guaranteed single (about 20% of juniors have to live in doubles); or they can’t find a group of at least five students to draw with.

      I’m living in a palace. It’s amazing.