Two hundred fifty third-year students have applied to live in one of 48 rooms on the Lawn in the upcoming academic year -- an increase from previous years.
A number of initiatives have caused the increase in applications, said M. Scott Stevens, Head Lawn Resident and Engineering student.
"This was the second year where an application was sent to every third-year student, there were numerous ads in The Cavalier Daily, and [William W. Harmon, vice president for student affairs,] sent an e-mail reminding everyone of the deadline," Stevens said.
Applications are reviewed through a multi-step process. The Lawn room selection process begins with the Steering Committee, which is chaired by Dean of Students Penny Rue. The Steering Committee also consists of four administrators and 10 students who represent the entire University.
The Steering Committee then selects the 25 additional fourth-year students who form the Lawn Selection Committee, along with the 10 student members of the Steering Committee.
"Dean Rue has done a great job in the Steering Committee and we have a great Selection Committee this year," Stevens said. Stevens, who estimated that about 220 students applied last year, serves as the chairman of the Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee reviews all 250 applications. Each member votes for 48 applicants -- the same number of Lawn rooms available. Every Selection Committee member reads each application. After the votes are tallied, the top 48 students become the next Lawn residents.
To be able to apply to live on the Lawn, a student must have a grade point average of at least 2.0.
"I think that it is great that anyone in good standing can apply," Stevens said.
Some students have criticized the standard and feel that an applicant should have a GPA of 3.0 or above, he said.
"Originally, all students at the University lived on the Lawn and the Range, and this requirement honors the history of the Lawn," he added.
The Selection Committee's members each look for the ideal Lawn resident.
"There is definitely no 'pre-Lawn' path. Being a University Guide will not secure admission to the Lawn," Stevens said. "I like to look for a student who brings passion towards the University. I think it is neat when someone sees something missing from the community and thereby adds to the University community."
Applicants will be notified within two weeks of the application deadline. The University community is informed a week later.
Six rooms on the Lawn are not filled via the application process. Three rooms are filled by organizations on Grounds. Kappa Sigma, the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society and Trigon Engineering Society each vote a student into its room on the Lawn.
Two rooms are filled automatically based on a student's position. The Head Resident on the Lawn and Honor Committee chairman both automatically receive Lawn rooms.
Room 15 is designated the Gus Blagden Room. Gus Blagden was a student who died of cancer at an early age and who lived in that room. His family endowed the room.
Current Lawn residents see living on the Lawn as a great experience.
"It has been fantastic living on the Lawn. I would not trade it for anything in the world," said John Finley, Student Council chief financial officer and current Lawn resident.
Applicants also saw great advantages to living on the Lawn.
"I want to live in a community where I could be surrounded by those who did inspirational things and where a diversity of opinions will exist, creating a great learning experience," said Ben Hallen, third-year Engineering student and applicant.