Miami University will follow the University of Georgia in looking into an online network for first-year students looking for a roommate. Although Miami has not seen overwhelming problems from the current random roommate selection-in fact, complaint numbers are so low that statistics are not kept-housing, dining and guest services (HDGS) are investigating the effects of such a survey on our campus. The editorial board of The Miami Student believes that while this process could be very beneficial for matching like-habited roommates, there exists the possibility for a reinforcement of high school cliques.
The investigation into the program was spurred by a survey of first-year students who indicated they would be interested in having such a system in place at Miami. If a pilot program were implemented, Miami would thus switch from its random roommate selection from within Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) to a survey that would include sleep and study habits. While the system at Georgia has high approval rating, would it be accepted and as successful here?
Of course, relative success is not the measure of all things. This board believes that a system like this is almost like eHarmony.com-a dozen-question survey that is supposed to match you up with the perfect person.
First, there are already enough cliques at Miami, as highlighted year after year in our poor Princeton Review ratings on race/class interaction. Giving first-years the opportunity to choose a similar person won’t slice into this number at all and may only make problems worse.
Of course, there would also be those who use such a matching service to choose someone completely opposite of them, so the program should not be viewed as wholly negative.
What is good in this situation is the quick reaction from the university to not only begin acting on student survey results, but also to look at other universities and their roommate selection processes. While the fun may be in randomly living with other people, the university recognizes a problem we all are almost certainly aware of-a person whose roommate is so terrible that they feel the only way out is to transfer to another university.
It is also important to remember that just because two roommates are alike, that doesn’t mean it’s a match made in heaven. Diversity is the spice of life, and sometimes random roommate assignments do people good. Also, the impact of such a change in policy wouldn’t be apparent in the short-term-not in terms of how many people would use a system or would be happy because of it, but in terms of how it molds and develops a student’s college career and interpersonal skills.
While the system would be good to match up those with the same sleep, study or even relationship characteristics, it is probably worth the random chance to make the most out of college living.