One of the fears for incoming college freshmen who are going to live with random roommates is getting the nightmare person who stays up all night, never showers or leaves their clothes strewn all over, but the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is helping relieve that stress by letting their students pick roommates online.
UW-La Crosse has created a Facebook application that allows incoming students to go online and try to find roommates who have similar interests and with whom they would get along.
Dean of Students Paula Knudson said the program was very successful.
More than 350 students found roommates through the program, and more than 1,000 students signed up on Facebook, Knudson added.
Knudson said using Facebook is good because it gives students ownership over who their roommates are.
She added students are then more invested in working out any problems if they picked the roommate themselves instead of the university doing for them.
Assistant Director of University Housing April Handtke said this is the first year they have used the social networking site.
UW-La Crosse senior Bill Niklasch said the application sounds like a great idea, and he wished it was available when he was a freshman living in the dorms.
Niklasch said he got along with his roommate for the most part, but they did have their problems.
“My roommate would stay up really late at night, and he would also cook salmon in the microwave in our dorm room and it would just smell terrible all day,” Niklasch said.
The Facebook program has students go online and fill out an application where they describe their likes and interests, according to Handtke.
She added the form also has students fill out how important their interests are and if they want their potential roommates to have those same interests.
“You are asked [on the application] if you’re a morning person and then how important it is to them that their roommate is also a morning person,” Handtke said.
Once students have submitted their application they will receive a list of students who have similar interests.
They can then send a person a message asking if they want to be roommates.
UW-Madison freshman Bobby Albrecht said he was assigned a random roommate and was not offered any way of finding a roommate on Facebook or other social network sites.
Albrecht added it seemed like a good idea and could be pretty useful in finding a roommate you can live with and would be a good alternative to being assigned someone randomly.
Students can change their mind after agreeing on Facebook to be roommates, and they still have the option of going with the traditional random roommate assignment, Handtke said.
Knudson said they will monitor how many roommates stay together throughout the year to see how well the matching worked.
She added they will keep tweaking the program but will definitely continue it into next year.