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Campus housing assigns roommates at random

Submitted by Jamila Brown on January 28, 2011 – 6:41 pmNo Comment

Roommates, love them or hate them (usually a combination of both), are a huge part of the college experience. However, who you live with can often make or break that experience, and with the addition of 350 beds to the campus next year, UALR housing will be facing its largest round of roommate assignments yet.

There are a couple different scenarios when it comes to roommate assignments. Students in the same scholarship program, such as the Chancellor’s Leadership Corp (CLC), are generally placed together. Other students have the option to select their roommate so long as all parties have indicated their preference before the assignment date. Those who don’t request a roommate are randomly placed with other students.

Brittney Mitchell, freshman psychology major, and Sha’mira Tidwell, freshman chemistry major, were randomly placed together as roommates in student housing. Photo by Jamila Brown.

Brittney Mitchell, freshman psychology major, and Sha’mira Tidwell, freshman chemistry major, were randomly placed together as roommates in student housing. Photo by Jamila Brown.

Despite filling out a questionnaire about music preferences, sleeping habits, and family life, the housing office said that barring similar majors and hometowns, roommate assignment is relatively random. “There is no set list of guidelines,” said Yuliana Mondragon, administrative assistant in the housing central office. “While 50 percent of our students choose their roommates, the random placement essentially provides the others with new and diverse experiences.”

“Being able to choose your own roommate is a no-brainer because you are comfortable with the person and there is already a certain level of respect that has been established,” said Khim Aday, mass communication major. “Plus, it eliminates the awkward first few weeks.”

On the contrary, molecular biotechonology freshman, Mary Smith said that she likes the random placement. “It’s nice that we get to meet new people,” Smith said. “I probably would’ve chosen one of my friends, but a lot of the time friends don’t live well with other friends, and that can be disastrous.”

Unfortunately, not living well with others is an issue the housing office has to deal with. “When roommates are fighting, we first encourage them to try and talk it out with each other, then see their resident assistant (RA) or community adviser (CA). If that still doesn’t resolve the issues we have a consultation with them at the housing office … If there is still no result we might be able to move them, but limited bed space makes it a difficult and final resort,” Mondragon said. “A benefit we do offer is ‘Room Change Day,’ which is two weeks after classes start. As long as you can find someone to switch with you, you are good to go.”

One of the latest benefits the housing office is working on is an online program where you can preselect your roommates based on their Internet profile. Mondragon said, “It may not be ready in time for the opening of West Hall, but it is something we are working toward.”

Question of the Week: What is your worst roommate experience?

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