20. May 2013 10:56
With the variety and amount of incoming students, randomly matching them with roommates seems like an easy option. In go the names, out come the assignments. Yet, this is not actually a two step process. What happens when the matches aren't a good fit?
- Do you field the phone calls?
- Do you try to mediate?
- Do you find some way to accomodate transfer requests.
If you are matching roommates randomly, it might be safe to expect that you will encounter roommate harmony only randomly. But when students had an opportunity to make a decision in their room selection process, they were empowered and invested in their roommate relationship. If some issue did arise, a roommate change was not always the first option. Conversely, students who were randomly assigned a roommate were significantly more likely to change roommates, according to a 2005 Study by Colemand and Cooper.
To learn more about radom roommate selection vs. self-selection, download RoomSync's Empowering Roommate Self-Selection Whitepaper now!
24. April 2013 10:14
It may seem obvious, but no matter who your roommate is or where you live, two factors will either make the living situation a success or a complete failure: respect and freedom.
One UNC student details how he managed to successfully live with his best friend in cramped quarters in Roommate Series II: The Friend Roommate. It is not uncommon for friend-mates to overstep their boundaries, be overly clingy and evenually ruin the friendship. But this blog suscinctly lays out the best practices to make any living situation work:
Respect for EachotherI think that the first thing that made our situation work was that we respected each other and didn’t take advantage of each other’s friendship while living together. One of the problems I see when people live with friends is that they assume their friends will be OK with something without asking them. Other people seem to even go as far as to do things they know their roommates probably won’t appreciate, but know their roommate will forgive them for. Having a level of respect for each other is important. Create SpacesMy second bit of advice for living with friends is to maintain at least some level of freedom from your roommate. Even though this person may be your best friend or someone you know really well, it doesn’t mean that they’ll want to do everything with you or be with you every second of every day. This may seem like common sense, but many students, especially first-years, imagine themselves experiencing every minute of college with their best friends from high school. This usually seems to result in people becoming too clingy, using their friend as crutch for not meeting new people, and eventually pushing their friend away. So give yourself and your roommate some space.
For more details on experiences related to the above, read the original blog post.
20. January 2012 06:29
Once a month, we feature one of our fantastic clients to learn more about them and how they use RoomSync. Our thanks go out to Amy Jorgensen, Marketing Coordinator at University of Florida, for sitting down with us for this UF spotlight.
Amy Jorgensen, Marketing Coordinator at University of Florida
Tell us about your journey to and experience within Higher Education
I was highly encouraged to start a career in higher education by my grandfather. He was the Director of the University of Connecticut Stamford campus and taught at UMASS Amherst. My aunt also teaches at the University of Hartford, so I guess you can say I was destined to start a higher ed career.
I spent about 10 years in the hospitality industry, working for companies like Disney, Universal Studios, and KSL Recreation. I had recently returned from working at Universal Studios Japan when I decided to return to college. I was offered a position as a secretary at UF, and knew that I had to live in the Gator Nation.
Coming to UF is the best decision I have ever made. The Department of Housing and Residence Education is one of the best work environments I’ve ever encountered. After the secretarial position, I worked in the UF College of Medicine and even took a brief position at Disney in Internal Communications and Marketing, before the Department of Housing called me back for my dream job and I very happily found myself back in Gainesville
My experience with the University of Florida has been incredibly rewarding. The Department of Housing and Residence Education supported my efforts to finish my degree. In addition, I work with one of the best teams in the country and am very lucky to have such a great boss. Our Associate Director, TJ Logan, is one of the best bosses I've ever had - very supportive and motivating. I definitely recommend working at the University of Florida, especially the Division of Student Affairs.
So now you are Marketing Coordinator at UF Housing & Residence Education, what is UF's social media presence, what is your strategy?
We had around 1400 Facebook fans when I started, and now we’ve grown to just little under 5400. While this is important, I think it’s important to also measure success through consumer engagement factors: page views, interactions, comments, and posts. All the fans in the world don't matter if they're not engaged, interested, and ready to share your information.
Some of Facebook.com/UFHousing 2011 highlights include 182 comments in one day, almost 6000 weekly active users, and nearly 390,000 Facebook page views in only one month. That many page views was very exciting! In comparison, our website had about 800,000 page views in a whole year - so to obtain almost half that in one month was very exciting! For more strategy, you can check out the presentation on social media I did at the ACHUO-I Business Conference.
I believe that RoomSync can be a significant component of enriching our consumer engagement. It is also a tremendous customer service tool, and a fantastic amenity that any higher education housing facility should consider!
What were the biggest challenges in roommate assignment for UF housing before RoomSync?
We think it's very important for students to choose their roommate. This way, students can have a more positive experience because they feel empowered.
UF is one of the select few universities that allows its students to choose their room and roommate during the assignments process. Early applicants can hold a space for a roommate that they find through social media, RoomSync or someone they knew from high school. Building students into the process and allowing them to to have choices can greatly increase customer satisfaction.
According to TJ Logan, staff noticed a reduction in roommate conflicts and in problems related to room transfers. Students hold themselves more accountable when they choose their own roommates and they learn how to compromise.
So what would you say is the most effective way of getting the word out to students so they are excited and use RoomSync?
I think the best way is through social media. Many students don't pay attention to emails anymore. For the younger generation, it’s all about texts and social media. Begin with email and include all the information; then send a reminder email a week or month later.
Tell us about the growth of the RoomSync network.
The growth at the University of Florida has been quite positive! Our first year had about 1300 users and the second year grew to 3300 users. We have about 7500 undergrads living in campus housing, so it’s pretty great when half are using RoomSync. About 80% of users are first-year students and even for those who didn't find their roommate, RoomSync provides a great opportunity to build community before students are even on campus.
Now for some fun questions. What is your favorite movie?
Splash, 1984. Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy. How could you not love this movie?!
Who is your favorite musician?
Pre-1990 Michael Jackson. Off the Wall always gets me going! I’m also a big fan of Journey, Aerosmith, and other classic rock.
10. October 2011 03:53
Hi everyone, Nadav here. I’m one of the new RoomSync interns and would like to share my own experience with on-campus housing from when I attended college a couple of years ago.
I spent my first two years at college living on-campus, but all my friends were commuters, so every year I would have to room with complete strangers. Even though the campus housing would ask students to take personality and preference surveys to help with roommate matches, the matches never really seemed to make sense. My experiences reflect the ineffectiveness of these traditional methods.
In my second year, I moved into a new double room, and while it was like my freshman experience in that I lived with a diverse group of people, the dynamic was completely different. Like my freshman roommates, my suite-mates didn’t really hurt/benefit my experience, but the reason my sophomore year was unbearable was because of the person I shared a room with. He was a 300 pound athlete who had no concept of personal hygiene. He smelled, his teeth were so neglected they looked gold, and if that weren’t bad enough, he constantly stole textbooks, notebooks, and calculators from us. In fact, I couldn’t find my accounting textbook the night before my exam, and ended up having to go into the exam without one last round of studying, which severely impacted my grade. Later when we were moving out, I found my book in his desk drawer.
Sure, there is a lot to learn from new people and I highly recommend interacting with as many people as possible whenever you can. For living arrangements however, you might want to find people who will be compatible with your lifestyle and personality. If there were RoomSync at my college when I was there, I am sure that things would have been much different for me. Heck, I may have been so happy living there that I would have probably stayed. Finding compatible roommates through RoomSync will make the freshmen adjustment to college so much more pleasant. It will also help people avoid the horrendous experiences that could come from living with incompatible people due to a random match.
If your roommate keeps stealing books from you, it might be a sign to switch to RoomSync.
15. April 2011 05:07
The RoomSync application allows residents to enter lifestyle preference questions on 1-5 scales like preferred bedtime and visitor frequency. Up until now, these questions were the same for all communities.
We've just rolled out a new customization feature through our RoomSync Administration tool that allows clients to customize these questions. This was a highly requested feature because each community is unique. Customization these questions allows more targeted and relevant questions for students to complete. A screenshot of the backend customization for these lifestyle preferences is shown below.