[Fresh] Picking a roommate

John Immerwahr (john.immerwahr@villanova.edu)
Thu, 25 Jan 2001 13:47:16 -0500

This a posting for Fresh@News, Villanova's e-mail news service for
parents and friends of the class of 2004. New subscribers can see the
previous postings at: http://news.villanova.edu/fresh/

Interview with Marie Schauder, Assistant Director, Office of Residence

Fresh@News: In a few weeks, the class of 2004 will begin selecting
their rooms and roommates for next year. Are the students thinking
about this already?

Ms. Schauder: This process has been on the minds of the freshmen class
for months. Who to live with is a big decision for a college student,
and this topic is all over the residence halls right now.

Fresh@News: So how does the process work?

Ms. Schauder: The first step is for the students to find a roommate for
next year. Sometimes they stay with their current roommate or they
find someone else with whom they feel they may be more compatible.

Fresh@News: What kind of issues come up at this stage of the game?

Ms. Schauder: Mostly it works out, but there are some painful moments
too. Sometimes one half of a roommate team wants to stay together, and
the other wants to live with someone else. There can be hurt feelings
and awkwardness.

Fresh@News: Any thoughts or suggestions to pass along as far as finding
a roommate?

Ms. Schauder: Usually the students start by looking at the students who
live on their hall. This is a good strategy, but often it makes just as
much sense to look for connections in their classes. One of the big
conflicts that comes up between roommates has to do with study habits,
so finding someone who approaches academic work in a similar fashion is
often a good way to find a roommate.

Fresh@News: Suppose the student just can't find a roommate?

Ms. Schauder: That happens all of the time, for a variety of reasons.
Usually about 25% of the class does not pick a roommate at all. They
just go into the process by themselves and we assign them a roommate (as
we did for this year). Of course, they will meet that roommate this
spring and have an opportunity to get to know the person. Just as
arranged marriages sometimes work out better than love matches, often
enough the groups who get put together by us work out really well and
stay together in the future. The point is, it is no shame to go into
the process as a single, and it usually works out.

Fresh@News: What happens next?

Ms. Schauder: The next step is that the students get a preference sheet
with their lottery number. They fill out the sheet indicating what
buildings they want and who they want to live with. We look at the
sheets and house each group according to the lowest lottery number in
that group, and then try to fill their requests as best we can. As
you can imagine, sometimes people try to find ways to beat the system,
but since we have been doing this for awhile we've found ways to prevent
most of the abuses.

Fresh@News: So what are the hot residence halls for the class of 2004?

Ms. Schauder: As in any real-estate operation, the three most important
factors are, "Location, location, and location." A lot of first year
students want to live next year in the "Quad." These two buildings,
Sullivan and Sheehan, are on our main campus and house 800 sophomore
students (about half of the class). Actually the rooms in these
buildings are not as nice as some of our other housing, but sophomores
really enjoy being in the center of things. If they have a class in
Bartley they can literally "roll out of bed" to go to class. Since so
many Sophomores live in these halls, a lot of students enjoy the social
opportunities. Another popular hall is Good Counsel, which is on
South Campus. I think the attraction there is the air conditioning and
spacious rooms.

Fresh@News: How will the Sophomore living experience be different from
what the class has experienced this year?

Ms. Schauder: We think of our residence life program as an educational
experience in itself, and each year students learn new skills. As first
year students their roommates were assigned to them, and the majority of
students live in single-gender halls. (We do have some mixed gender
housing for first year students in our "Learning community" programs).
By sophomore year all students live in mixed residence halls, and most,
we feel, have become mature enough to handle it. These buildings will
usually have alternate floors or wings with men on one floor and women
on another. It is a much more realistic living arrangement and the
students seem to enjoy it. As juniors, most of our students will move
to our on-campus apartments, where they will be involved in a still more
independent form of living. Since the apartments have fully equipped
kitchens, the students really live more as they would in an apartment in
the community. Finally as seniors, most of our students will actually
move into apartments in the community, and learn how to deal with
landlords, leases, and all of the responsibilities that come with fully
independent living. The goal is to gradually expose our students to
greater freedom, independence, and responsibility, while still providing
support at each stage of the process.

Fresh@News: What advice do you have for parents?

Ms. Schauder: Housing is an issue that has a big emotional charge for
students, and a wide range of feelings can be evoked. The first point
to make is that students sometimes need to be encouraged to get accurate
information before they fly off the handle. Sometimes the things they
are upset about can actually be fixed, so they need to be encouraged to
talk to someone before they get too upset. Often enough they will talk
to their parents before they have really found out exactly what is going
on, then the parents pick up the concern of the students. The first
line of defense is to have the student try to sort out the problem with
someone here. If that doesn't seem to be working, we also encourage
parents to call us at any time. Of course usually everything happens
at once in our office, so please understand that we may not be able to
answer your question immediately. Please be patient, usually it all
gets sorted out. Parents can also look at our website at
www.reslife.villanova.edu, which has a lot of information about housing
at Villanova.

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