Can someone provide the details of the co-op process this year? Leah Shoer ’09 wrote:

So, having just gotten the scary email today about statistics of co-op draw…

Can we stage a sit-it of campus life or something? If over half the senior class is trying for a co-op, I think it’s time to get some new ones. Also, I love how their estimates were way off at the info session (around 160 people? 200 max? come on, it’s cluster housing making everyone run for the hills).

Did more than 250 juniors really apply for co-op housing? How many spots are there? Two years ago, there were 189 applicants for 108 spots, but then nasty neighborhoods took away some (?) of those. Other EphBlog coverage here. Note the use of Willipedia to organize the process better. I take a foolish pride in being the first to implement this idea. My position on co-ops is the same as always.

It is a shame that the College — as well as the students representatives on bodies like CUL and College Council — do not provide more co-op spots. It is an excellent program, beloved by all and largely unique to Williams. From a fund-raising point of view, there are few ways to bind Ephs more tightly to their friends (and future class agents!) then having them live together intimately senior year.

The problem with student leaders wasting their political capital on projects like Focus the Nation and Stand with Us is that this does little to concretely improve student life at Williams. It’s a free country, so each Eph may do as she pleases. But you only get to ask Morty so many favors. Think there should be more co-ops? Then you need to fight for them.

Is the dramatic (?) increase in co-op applications an indication that Neighborhood Housing is a failure. Yes! (To be fair, this could just be a random blip. If requests go back down to the tradition 150–200 range in future years, then this analysis is wrong.) Neighborhoods were supposed to be such wonderful communities that, if anything, seniors would want to stay in them rather than move away. That, obviously, hasn’t happened. More importantly, seniors — Call them crazy! — want to live with their very best friends senior year. And some of those friends will not be from the same neighborhood. Under free agency, seniors could live with who they pleased. Now they can’t, unless they go co-op or off-campus. The increase in co-op (and off-campus?) applications is a direct measure of student dissatisfaction with neighborhood housing relative to free agency.

Want to test that hypothesis? Look at the groups that applied. If most of them included students from just one neighborhood, then it was the chance of living in a co-op itself that caused them to apply. If (as I predict) most of the groups featured students from multiple neighborhoods, then it is neighborhood housing itself which is causing the increase in co-op demand. Seniors want to live with their friends. Why won’t Williams let them?

Simple plan for fixing Williams housing here. As true today as it was three years ago.

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