Every year, the housing lottery keeps students on their toes about their future housing situations. The online selection process, during which students choose their roommate groups, rooms and apartments, occurs on a rolling basis that prioritizes seniority. Within each class year, there is a lottery that determines students’ selection times. This month, Kenyon is getting ready for the exciting and nerve-wracking task that lies ahead.
Ian Law ’25 plans to study abroad in New Zealand during the fall 2023 semester as an environmental studies major, but he already has a housing plan for when he is back on campus in the spring. His top choice is Bexley Residence Hall, which will open in the spring 2024 semester, giving him first dibs on the new dorms when he returns from abroad.
Law hopes to room with Zane Stenerson ’25, who will be studying in Strasbourg, France, in the fall as a political science major. Law is looking for a unique living situation next year, which is why the newly renovated Bexley Hall appeals to him: “It’s cool. It’s hip.” The renovations inside the Gothic building stand out to Stenerson, who wants to live in a space with more charging hubs and nicer bathrooms than what he is used to. “And it’s new, which is the biggest part,” he said. The two said that they are most excited about the prospect of a residence hall that will smell better than their current abode, Bushnell Residence Hall, which the College will demolish by the end of 2025.
Students who are on campus will have the chance to tour Bexley Hall when construction is finished. While Law and Stenerson will not be on campus during that time, they are not too concerned about living in a building that they have never been in. After all, they can join the housing waitlist to request a change if their living conditions are unsatisfactory to them.
Other students are also choosing unconventional housing options, like the student volunteers for the Mount Vernon Fire Department who plan to live in the fire house. Samuel Jankey ’25 wrote to the Collegian, “I like living here because of the tight-knit family environment. I got this spot through the fire program, after passing the recruitment. It has been a great perk to the program.”
Since August, Tess Abraham-Macht ’25 has lived in Bushnell because the building was the only residence hall on South Campus with vacant spots by the time her housing slot rolled around last year. She hopes to remain living closeby, in either Old Kenyon Residence Hall or Hanna Residence Hall: “I’ve loved living on South Campus this year. I love sitting on the lawn, and I feel like I’m very close to Peirce and a lot of my classes and a lot of my friends,” she said. “It feels more like a community than North [Campus] does to me.”
Last year, the housing selection process was stressful for incoming sophomores due to a lack of housing availability, according to Abraham-Macht. Residence spaces were up for grabs long before first-years could take their turn in choosing their living spaces, since the lottery starts with upperclassmen, while first-years live in residence halls specifically reserved for their cohort. “I think it can be stressful especially for people who have specific reasons for why they need to live somewhere,” she said.
The process is mostly random, but some students find loopholes. A current first-year, Megan Dellenbaugh ’26, found a way to avoid living in Meadow Lane Residence Hall (the “Mods”), a relatively unpopular choice among students, next year. “I am excited to live in Hillel, because I am living with my friend. I did not have to go through the housing lottery, which was something I was worried about because I knew as a sophomore I would have a high chance of getting in the Mods,” she wrote in a message to the Collegian. “I count myself very lucky.”
Raki Cabrera-Scarlata ’25 plans to remain in the Delta Tau Delta (Delts) division housing in Leonard Residence Hall again next year. Despite the sounds of the South Quad construction outside, he appreciates some aspects of his housing situation, such as Leonard’s large dorm rooms and proximity to central campus spots like Peirce Dining Hall and Chalmers Library. Ultimately, he said he would rather live in a Farr Apartment, but he recognizes that it is unlikely for incoming juniors to secure a spot in an apartment “It is what it is,” he said.
Whether students try to strategize with their housing or simply go along with the luck of the draw, they will remain neighbors to their peers on Kenyon’s tight-knit and fully residential campus.
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