No. 1 makes unexpected room choice

Elizabeth Campbell

No. 1 didn’t go for the No. 1 dorm Monday, according to his friends.

“What a waste of number one,” friends told Brian Chen when the first-in-line student chose a triple in Allison Hall instead of the often sought-after Kemper Hall.

The McCormick junior’s choice marked the beginning of the selection process for next year’s housing — a process that was changed this year to be what housing officials called “truly priority based.”

More housing assignments are scheduled to be distributed today and Wednesday as well as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Unlike past years when selections happened by room type, this year students with the highest priority numbers go first no matter what type of room they want. Mark D’Arienzo, associate director of university housing, said the change has gone smoothly so far.

This year’s process is less confusing, according to Michael Bisberg, a Communication junior who selected Kemper for next year.

“(The new process) makes it feel a bit more like priority means priority,” Bisberg said.

At the top of that priority list was Chen, who earlier this week posted on his Allison door the e-mail announcing his No. 1 spot.

Chen defended his choice to stay in Allison, saying what mattered most was who he lived with, not where he lived.

“I would rather be with friends in a less nice room than be without friends in a nicer room,” Chen said. His other friends’ numbers meant they would be unable to nab spots in the more popular dorms, he added.

Students in line behind Chen said they were excited to learn of his selection, as it improved their chances to live in the often sought-after Kemper Hall.

“Nothing surprises me with number one,” D’Arienzo said of Chen’s choice.

After about an hour and a half of student selections, Kemper was the most popular student choice, with Foster-Walker Complex close behind, D’Arienzo said.

Students cited the setup of Kemper as a major draw for upperclassmen.

“You can suite with the people you want,” said McCormick junior Finsen Chan. “You can get off the meal plan — that’s the best.”

The schedule of housing selection is posted on the Undergraduate Housing Web site. D’Arienzo recommended students check the site,, daily in case of changes.

Reach Elizabeth Campbell at [email protected]