facebook finds

Hi, my name is Emily Dascoli. I’m a fun-loving, outgoing girl and am looking for someone to explore the city with me. I love writing, reading, music and shopping, and I plan to major in nursing and join a sorority. I like going out and partying but I also want to do well in school.A typical ad in the personals? Not quite. Try a wall post in a Facebook roommate search group.

The roommate situation is one of many concerns for a first-year student. The possibility of becoming mired in a screaming, unavoidable, uncomfortable living situation every waking – and sleeping – hour spent in the dorm is enough to cause someone to break out into a cold sweat.

For students who don’t meet the perfect roommate at orientation or Frog Camp, Residential Services offers a potluck option where roommates are matched up based on surveys. But some freshmen have opted to find a roommate for themselves through Facebook.

The potluck process begins with a questionnaire surveying a student’s living preferences such as smoking and drinking habits, sleeping and waking hours and whether they are pack rats or neat freaks.

Mindy Hollan, assistant director of assignments for Residential Services, said while the living preferences survey plays a role in roommate selections, most students who choose potluck place more importance on their hall choices. Sometimes, the mere availability of space might wrap it up, she said.

Walker Winn, a freshman art history major, said he created the two freshmen roommate search groups – one for each gender – because he wanted to be helpful.

“Things can get pretty uncomfortable coming to college for the first time,” Winn said. “It’s better to have one more thing that is familiar to you in your room.”

Some factors that played into the online roommate selection process that the questionnaire does not cover are whether the students plan on joining a Greek organization, hobbies and personality traits.

Kara Coburn, a freshman pre-business major, said she found her roommate, Emily Zimmerman, through the Facebook group and was able to spend some time with her when Zimmerman visited her this summer.

“Potluck, you just get someone,” Coburn said. “I wanted to be best friends with my roommate.”

Hollan said residential services doesn’t use information from online profiles such as Facebook when matching roommates; however, she said she also doubts doing so guarantees a satisfactory roommate situation.

But Winn said Facebook allows freshmen to see what their potential roommates look like and better match characteristics with each other.

Cara Pennington, who is going into her fourth semester as a resident assistant in Sherley Hall, said although the two roommate conflicts she came across in her halls were in potluck situations, she thinks the chances of conflicts arising between roommates who met through Facebook are just as high.

“There are things you can’t account for,” she said. “Anybody can look good on a profile or on paper.”

Pennington said she and her roommate freshman year were matched through potluck and became good friends. She said similar situations have been common in her halls.