New system strives to find roommate compatibility

By Danielle Gittleman

A new housing selection system hopes that e-harmony between incoming freshmen and their potential roommates will lead to actual harmony for the 2012 fall semester.
StarRez is an automated online housing software program that aims to ease the process and satisfaction of housing selection, according to Cindy Threatt, associate dean for Residential Programs.
“Students can go online and pick their own roommate, building and room,” Threatt said. “It will replace meetings and paperwork; it’s all manual and a self-serve environment.”
StarRez allows students to create a profile, which asks the same questions that are provided by the current system: whether you smoke or can live with a smoker, what your sleeping habits are, whether you are neat or messy and your music preference. Once the profile is created, freshmen can either send a request that is subject to approval to potential roommates or allow StarRez to find other profiles that have a high match percentage to their own.
Freshman Jade Morton said she thinks the addition of StarRez will be a benefit to incoming freshmen.
“I think this program is a great idea,” Morton said. “Hopefully, it can help students find the perfect roommate for them and make the housing process much easier.”
The program is similar to online dating sites, according to Threatt.
“It has a match.com sort of feel,” she said.
Residence Life is working on generating even more questions to narrow down students’ matches, Threatt said.
“We’re open to feedback about what questions should be asked, whether they’re helpful in picking a roommate or if they need to be known to pick a roommate,” she said.
Freshman Kristin Hill said there should be other factors to consider when choosing a roommate.
“I think they should ask more than whether you smoke or not or what music you listen to,” Hill said. “Roommates aren’t just based on that.”
Though incoming freshmen will be the only group to use StarRez for the 2012-2013 school year, it will expand to all residents for the 2013-2014 school year. Current residents will use the present system to apply for housing this year, but their data will be put into the StarRez system for next year.
Starting Feb. 20, incoming freshmen can pay their housing deposits online and begin to make their profiles on StarRez.
“Between February and June, the new students will be able to log on and see the profiles of other students and get to know them,” Threatt said. “And in June they will get an email with their lottery number and time when they can log on and select their roommates and rooms.”
Lottery numbers will still be given to students, including incoming freshmen. The numbers will dictate when students can log onto StarRez and select their buildings, rooms, roommates, learning programs and any other specific requests or needs that should be stated.
The lottery numbers are based on when students made their deposits and the term returning students started when first admitted to Rider, Threatt said.
The ultimate goal is to provide greater statisfaction among students during room selection, according to Threatt.
“Other schools who use StarRez have said roommate conflicts reduce,” she said. “That is one of the things that so many students complain about.”
An upperclass student wishing to remain anonymous said she is pleased with the changes being made to the system, considering an unsavory experience she had as a freshman.
“I filled out that I like to sleep late on the weekends and I like to stay up late and I like to listen to music. You think, ‘If I fill this out I’ll be matched up with some else who likes to stay up a little bit later and wake up a little bit later.’ But no, I got paired with this girl who wrote on the housing contract that she wanted to be in bed at 9 p.m. and she woke up so early. Why did I fill out that housing contract it I wasn’t going to be listened to?”

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