She spun a precise 100 on the first try. When asked if she wanted to spin again, she unsurprisingly said no. As four other contestants failed to match her score, Katelyn Haruki became the winner of one year of free on-campus housing at the men’s basketball game last Thursday, Jan. 25.
“She was in tears,” said Senior Director of Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) Torry Brouillard-Bruce, who orchestrated the new event.
As over 400 students entered the student section at the basketball game, each was given a lottery ticket. Of those 400 tickets, 5 were selected to have the chance to spin a wheel to win the coveted prize: one year of free on-campus housing.
Haruki had talked to her roommate about housing, and, like many students, was unsure about looking for off-campus housing or just betting on the lottery system. “It was up in the air,” she said. But going into the game, she didn’t have any expectations.
Haruki rejoiced when she heard Brouillard-Bruce call her number. She was so excited, she said she almost tripped running down to the floor to join the others. The finalists had to wait until halftime before spinning for the winner. “We were all being very friendly because we all knew something good was going to happen to someone,” Haruki said. The finalists got up to two spins to try and get as close to 100 points as possible, without going over. Haruki went first, and the crowd went wild. She spun a spot-on 100.
The housing award is flexible, but does not include the meal plan. The winner gets to choose a double room in any dorm building that they qualify for (underclassmen can’t choose to reside in Loyola Village, for example). The winner is allowed to bring in a roommate (who will not get free board). If they choose a triple, which is cheaper, they receive no money back. If they choose a single, which is more expensive, SHaRE pays up to the cost of a double in that same dorm. Katelyn, as a junior, chose to be housed in Loyola Village next year. She gets to select this on the portal after priority groups are placed — ROTC, Athletes, SDS, Gender Neutral Housing, etc. — but before the general lottery begins.
Brouillard-Bruce described the giveaway as a celebrative way for SHaRE to kick off the continuing student housing selection process. He brought the idea from his former place of employment, the University of the Pacific, where he had seen it be successful for the last two years.
“Housing is a challenge for our students here at USF, and we want to do everything we can to give them as much information as possible,” Brouillard-Bruce said. “Yes that comes in emails, yes that comes in flyers, but why not have a fun event?”
Off-campus housing services were also present at the game. “We know we can’t house all of our continuing students,” Brouillard-Bruce said. “Housing here in the city is tough, housing on campus is tough. It’s even tougher if you don’t know any information. So I looked at is as an investment in helping all of our students, and one student happened to end up with the opportunity to have free housing.”
Brouillard-Bruce explained that the funding to make up for the loss of one room’s fees came from “a little bit of everything.” Drawing from multiple budgets within the funds allocated to SHaRE by the University, including the promotion and advertising budget, he described it as “accounting for the expected loss in revenue.” He also noted that there are usually funds at the end of the cycle that are not used and go back to the university anyways.
A similar event will take place on Feb. 22 at the women’s basketball game against University of the Pacific. This time, the winner will not receive free housing, but the No. 1 lottery spot.
Featured Photo: Junior Katelyn Haruki became the recipient of one year of free housing at the men’s basketball game last Thursday, January 25. HURSH KARKHANIS/FOGHORN