I think IvyGate puts it pretty bluntly:
The housing lottery is one of the crueler systems ever devised, up there with the Spanish Inquisition and natural selection. Destroyers of friendships, sowers of schism, lotteries dehumanize you in ways that make the college admissions process look warm and fuzzy. Merit is meaningless; finagling, impossible. You become a number. You pray for better living and the lottery stares back with a cold, dull eye.
But at Brown, they’ve devised an interesting new video contest so students can compete for the top picks:
There, students can compete for first pick by entering a video contest. Submissions are judged on “overall quality of the submission, general entertainment value, originality, and creativity,” and narrowed down to a batch of finalists, which students can then vote on.