BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Ideally, Saleh Altamimi said his dorm roommate this fall will share some of his interests — perhaps sports, world travel, or even more specifically, Japanese culture.
(After all, Altamimi said he’ll be bringing his bamboo Kendo swords to his yet-to-be-assigned dorm room on the University of Colorado campus).
But, ultimately, like most incoming freshmen, he’s leaving it to CU to match him with a roommate.
Housing officials on the Boulder campus match freshmen based on a set of a half dozen lifestyle questions, which include sleep habits, study approaches and whether they smoke. Now, some students who insist on finding their own roommates — many of whom have been perusing Facebook profiles — have the added option of using websites that match students using an even more extensive lifestyle survey.
Justin Gaither, co-founder of roomsurf.com, said that the website does not yet have a formal relationship with CU, though incoming students can sign up for the site and pay a one-time $15 fee. The “CU Class of 2016” Facebook page encourages students to use the website if they’re searching for roommates and don’t want to be assigned one.
Gaither said he founded the site in 2010, and it now has 250,000 registered users nationwide, including contracts with the University of Arizona and the University of Central Florida.
He noticed, while a student at the University of Miami, that his peers were looking for roommates on social-networking sites.
“But Facebook is meant to keep you in touch with people you already know,” he said. “We decided to apply the dating model — Match.com — to roommate matching.”
The site’s set of 17 questions ask whether students like to keep their rooms tidy and if they have a problem sharing their belongings.
Elise Graninger, manager of occupancy management for CU’s housing department, said the majority of students — about 85 percent — allow the university to assign them a roommate. She calls it potluck style.
“It’s like a giant puzzle to put it all together,” she said. “And we have fun doing it.”
Most the time, it works out, she said.
Sophie Arterburn, an incoming freshman from New Mexico, said she wanted CU to match her with a roommate because she thinks it’s part of the college experience.
So far, she said, the university has been spot-on. She has been getting to know her assigned roommate over Facebook, and they both like to ski, enjoy alternative music and seem to have the same taste in comedy movies, she said.
Biss Delaney, a CU graduate, said that she remains close friends with one of the young women she shared a three-person suite with in Baker Hall.
“I got the luck of the draw,” she said. “We’ll be lifelong friends.”
Nicco Baumann, who is from Northern California, said he’s more of a night owl and he hopes that his roommate can balance studying and having fun. Baumann said his mother filled out his roommate survey for him and, while he has a roommate assigned in his Williams Village North dorm room, he hasn’t been able to find him on Facebook, yet.
“I’ll move in and it will be like, ‘Surprise!'” he said.
– By BRITTANY ANAS, Daily Camera
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