Ben Rihn ’22
The dorm and room (re)selection process has always been a controversial topic. In the past, students have felt hungry for a change of pace, but frustrated with the results of the selection system and cheated out of their desired outcome. Marco Malo ’21 said, “For many people, if you didn’t get into the dorm you wanted in eleventh grade, it becomes even harder to get into it for your senior year. So it creates this community of people who don’t feel like the current system really works for them.”
Questions regarding the influence of grade priority, room inspection results, and legacy resurfaced every spring term once the task of dorm and room selection returned. Being cognizant of Mercersburg Academy’s values of equality, though, it is only right that the selection process reflects the egalitarian spirit embraced by the campus community.
In response, the school has implemented a new dormitory and room selection process that seeks to eliminate the prior system, which was fraught with confusion and disagreement. “We felt like a lottery system was a necessary transition because it made the entire dorm-and-room selection process more equitable without the unnecessary complications of our current system,” stated Christian Bancroft, dorm dean of Keil Hall.
Upon the culmination of the spring term, the new dormitory and room selection process will function, as Bancroft mentioned, through a lottery-based system. A grade-wide hierarchy no longer exists. Squatter’s rights and the ability to stay in a dorm for an extended number of years have been eliminated. And a certain number of outstanding room inspections holds no weight. A student’s placement rests solely on chance.
Each and every roommate pair will receive a number after they have confirmed themselves as roommates. These numbers will then decide their fates during a dorm selection drawing, in which seniors will draw first and juniors last.
Each dormitory can house a certain number of juniors, lower-middlers, upper-middlers, and seniors. Once the lottery has filled a quota for a particular grade, then it continues to the next dormitory. For example, Main Hall has a set amount of rooms available to boys from the lower-middler, upper-middler, and senior classes. After the senior-designated rooms have filled, then the lottery for the upper-middler class opens up. This prevents a class from dominating a dorm’s entire population. It ultimately creates a level playing field that has been missing for too long.
“Nothing is perfect,” noted Bancroft, “but we listened to student feedback, worked for weeks on this new system, and I think our job now is to hope that it improves things, which many of us feel like it will.”