Slivka could end lottery

Abbie VanSickle

Northwestern students may soon be able to kiss the housing lottery goodbye.

Administrators said the construction of the Benjamin W. Slivka Science and Engineering Residential College will bring significant changes to the current housing placement system, which annually sends waves of panic across campus as students scramble to secure on-campus housing for the next year.

“We are going to take a serious look at the room-selection system over the next six to eight months,” said Gregg Kindle, director of Residential Life.

Mark D’Arienzo, associate director of University Housing Administration, said administrators will form a committee Fall Quarter to make significant changes to the current process.

Prashant Velagaleti, the Residence Hall Association president, was optimistic that the lottery system would change.

“From what I understand, students will be on the committee,” said Velagaleti, a McCormick junior. “I think administrators have been very good about involving students so far.”

The addition of the 140 beds in Slivka and the recent opening of Kemper Hall to upperclassmen only have caused administrators to re-evaluate the current system, Kindle said.

“From what I understand, Slivka is the ‘missing link’ in finding a solution to the housing problem,” said Associate Student Government President Adam Humann. “I would definitely be in favor of doing away with the current system. It’s terrible.”

Humann said ASG investigated alternatives to the housing lottery last year and came up with a few ideas such as “squatter’s rights,” which would give students already in a residence hall priority over others looking to move in.

“Anything is better than what we have now,” Humann said.

The housing lottery, which has been in place since 1965, currently offers 2,200 non-Greek living spaces for everyone but freshmen.

Because all incoming freshmen are guaranteed on-campus housing, there have never been enough spaces to accommodate all of the upperclassmen.

This housing shortage necessitated the waiting list that currently is in place. Upperclassmen who draw very high numbers are put on the list and can only hope a space will open up for them.

But this system will become obsolete with the opening of Slivka, D’Arienzo said.

“I will start to focus on it next fall, after the incoming freshmen have been assigned housing,” he said.

Slivka’s construction is still proceeding on schedule.

The groundbreaking will begin after commencement in June, Kindle said.

Slivka will be arranged in suites similar to those in Kemper, Kindle said. The residential college will also offer a “Discovery Room,” which will promote scientific experimentation.

The funding for the four-story, $10 million dormitory was made possible in part by a gift from two NU alumni, Ben Slivka and his wife, Lisa Wissner-Slivka.

The couple, who owns the Seattle-based Wissner-Slivka Foundation, donated $4 million to the project.