New students who are early risers concerned about being randomly paired with a roommate who likes to party late can relax. The University has partnered with LSA-Student Government to create a new online roommate search service in order to help students who are “going in blind” find compatible roommates. This social networking program will give students the opportunity to choose roommates that will not conflict with their lifestyle. The University should continue to seek student input on the initiative to tailor it to what students want from a roommate and create a healthy environment for students.

According to a report today by the Daily, the University worked with LSA-SG to construct a new way for students to choose roommates with which they can be compatible. Students will create anonymous profiles listing certain behavioral tendencies like sleeping schedules and study preferences for potential roommates to view. To protect students’ privacy, no personal information will be available without a user’s consent. Participation is voluntary, and those who don’t want to be placed in the new system can still opt for a random selection. University Housing is currently testing a pilot version of the program.

This new networking tool has the potential to improve students’ first-year experience by providing them with a comfortable living situation. Though being set up with a suitable roommate won’t remove all the anxieties of beginning a college career, the program will help the University avoid pairings that turn out to be disastrous and stressful for both people. Giving students the opportunity to choose a compatible roommate will help avoid the problems that often arise from the University’s traditional system of random pairing.

But the purpose of this program isn’t for new students to find a roommate with an identical personality. Roommates from different backgrounds can expose each other to new interests — and this is an important aspect of college life. To ensure that students aren’t just looking for a twin, most of the information provided on the profiles won’t be oriented on likes and dislikes. Instead of focusing on activities, favorite music, etc., the profile will help students to find roommates that won’t disturb them while trying to sleep the night before an important exam. This ensures that students will use the program to find compatible — not identical — people with which they can live for the academic year.

Since students will be the primary users of the service, it’s crucial that their input be gathered regarding its implementation. To this end, the University collaborated with LSA-SG on this initiative in order to solicit student feedback as to how they could benefit from such a program. This is a rare example of the University actually reaching out to students and considering their opinions that shouldn’t diminish in further efforts to refine the program.

This program could be an extremely useful tool and foster a healthy environment for new students. But to make sure that this networking program remains focused on helping students, the University should continue to work with students to provide them with the most beneficial living situation possible.

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