UB students share their experience with UB’s dorm lottery


Kavitah Singh, a freshman undecided major, paid her housing deposit in the beginning of March but was given a reservation number in the 1,800s. This housing number means she will be placed in Fargo Hall in Ellicott Hall instead of her first choice, Greiner Hall, for on-campus housing next year.

Some schools let students pick their rooms based on when they submit their deposit, but not UB. As an attempt to avoid a lack of housing and to assign on-campus housing to students, UB Campus Living has created a lottery system that randomly assigns students reservation numbers based on how many semesters they’ve spent living on campus.

But not all students understand the lottery system.

The university currently has 19,829 undergraduate students and more than 7,000 students who choose to live in residence halls and campus apartments, according to Michael Koziej, senior associate director of Campus Living. Each year, there are a few students who are assigned as an “overcapacity resident.”

Space in the residents halls fill up quickly, which leads to some students being put in overcapacity rooms.

“For this program, we pre-identify a handful of rooms throughout our three areas – Main Street, Governors and Ellicott,” Koziej said. “We offer [the rooms] up as an option for incoming students.”

Once more space opens up and a room becomes available, the overcapacity resident is required to move to a new room as a permanent space for him or her.

Overcapacity rooms are not available for selection by current or returning students but incoming students will have the option to request to be permanent residents in these rooms.

Students who want to live on campus have to sign up online and submit a $300 deposit between the beginning of January and the beginning of February. After the submittal deadline has passed, reservation numbers are sent to students’ UB email addresses.

Alexandra Furtzaig, a freshman undecided major, requested to live in Greiner Hall for her sophomore year in the beginning of January.

“I think most freshman students who want to live on campus in the fall requested to live in Greiner” said Furtzaig. “It’s the newest dorm at UB which makes it popular and competitive.”

Greiner Hall was built in 2011 and features sophomore-only suite-style housing and an environmentally-conscious design.

But Furtzaig’s reservation number wasn’t high enough and she wasn’t chosen to live in Greiner.

Students’ “lottery numbers” are determined by how many semesters students have lived on campus. The more semesters you have spent living on campus, the lower your number will be and the better chance you have of getting selected for the dorm you requested.

SUNY schools don’t all have the same policy for housing selection. At SUNY College at Geneseo, students’ pooled credits – the combined credits of roommates – affect how early they can choose their housing.

“I think pooling credits for preferred housing is reasonably fair,” said Patrick McCormick, a senior political science major at Geneseo. “Having an opportunity to choose housing is great, but at the end of the day as long as you can reasonably request your roommates after freshman year, the rest is just details.”

At UB, involvement in a program, major, GPA and roommate request do not have any effect on which number students receive.

“Each year, I hear many rumors about students who got their numbers reduced because of some external factor,” Koziej said. “I can assure you this is not true.”

Jake Gordils, a freshman business major, requested to live in Greiner in February on the second day of the Greiner housing selection.

“I liked the process because I was given a low lottery number,” said Gordils. “I was able to select my room earlier than the people who had higher numbers.”

Singh thinks the lottery process is fair because the lottery numbers are random regardless of GPA or when you pay your housing deposit.

Rooms get selected until early March.

Gordils thought the process for selecting a room was very easy and nicely organized.

“I liked how each student had a specific time of the day to log on to the UB housing website and select a room,” Gordils said.

Furtzaig thinks the lottery process is fair but also thinks that students who didn't get their first choice the year before should have some sort of preference over the other students who did get their first choice.

“I had a low lottery number so I was able to select my other three roommates for sophomore year,” Gordils said.

People who had higher lottery numbers tended to find people with low lottery numbers to room with.

Students with the earlier reservation are allowed to “pull-in” roommates with a later reservation during their assigned slots, according to the Campus Living website. This takes place during the regular selection process for current UB students. New incoming students must fill out a “pull-in request” form.

Dani Guglielmo is a staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com