ISO College Roommate

, Deborah Lambert, Leave a comment

Until recently, campus roommates were a non-negotiable item for incoming college freshmen. If a study-holic was matched with a party animal, too bad. But now, things are changing.

When incoming freshmen receive their new roommate assignments, the first thing they do is look them up on Facebook.

At the University of Florida, for example, the school decided to give in to the social media phenomenon by using a Facebook application called RoomBug so that students could check out prospective roommates’ habits i.e. their neatness and sleep schedules. More than 25 percent of this year’s incoming freshmen have used this service so far.

However other schools have taken the opposite tack. Syracuse University, which still uses the random roommate selection process, emails roommate information late Friday afternoon, allowing recipients a 48-hour cooling off period before calling to complain, according to Greg Victory, who oversees freshman orientation at the school.

Other schools still hesitate to turn the process over to new media “for fear that racial, religious and sexual minorities might be singled out or excluded.”

But traditionalists like Larry Davis, assistant residence life director at the University of Wisconsin, Madison defend the current procedure “This is an institution of higher learning, and we expect [students] to learn and think, says Davis, adding that “taking on a random roommate is a good experience to have.”

Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.

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