The luck of the draw

Abbie VanSickle

Some people have all the luck.

The words “housing lottery” strike fear into the hearts of Northwestern students. Reaching their hands into that bucket filled with slips of red paper can be a heart-pounding experience. Many feel the fate of their next year at NU depends on the slip of paper they draw. For these students, this tiny slip has life-changing power.

And no one knows this power better than Music sophomore Lisa Clark and Medill freshman Susannah Chen.

“I pulled number one! I pulled number one!” Clark shouted as she ran up to the front desk of Norris University Center. Dressed in a bright pink shirt and blue jeans, she bubbled over with excitement as she celebrated with friends.

Clark said she was shocked when she found out she had pulled number one. When she saw the number on the piece of paper, Clark couldn’t believe her luck.

“Oh no! What if they made a mistake?” Clark said.

But there was no mistake. On Monday, Clark joined the elite ranks of NU students who have had their pick of campus housing. Clark, who currently lives in the Foster-Walker Complex, said she will probably live in Kemper Hall next year.

“I lived in Kemper my freshman year but last year I pulled about 3,000!” said Clark.

Clark said she planned to live Foster-Walker again next year, but her plans changed with her lucky draw.

“I need a single. I liked the Plex, but I think I’ll live in Kemper. It’s just a little nicer,” Clark said.

Unlike Clark, who was not feeling lucky the day of the lottery, Medill freshman Susannah Chen said she had an intuitive feeling she would pick a good number.

“I stuck my hand in the bucket and picked out (a ticket) that was bent,” Chen said. She said the student behind the counter read her number slowly.

“Four … zero … zero … zero,” he said, hoping to spare her feelings.

“Did you say 4,000?” said another shocked student.

Chen was stunned. She had drawn the last number; she was the official loser of the housing lottery.

But she remained positive. Chen, who lives in Willard Residential College, is guaranteed housing for next year despite her high number. Though students living in residential colleges have to draw lottery numbers, they are guaranteed housing in their college based upon a point system. Students earn points by participating in dorm activities.

“I’m living in Willard next year, so I think of it as saving someone else from getting this number. I like to think of myself as the winner of all the housing losers,” Chen said.