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First Roommate Roundup is a hit


BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 7, 2007 – Virginia Tech Housing Services’ innovative new program designed to help students find compatible roommates was a runaway success. Approximately 60 students turned out for the event hoping to find the perfect roommate.

The event was held over the course of two nights––women on Jan. 17 and men on Jan. 18. Seventy percent of students who filled out surveys afterwards responded that they did in fact find a roommate at the event, while 97 percent said that they would recommend Roommate Roundup to others.

Conflicts with current roommates and plans to remain on campus after roommates move off topped the list of reasons for attending; however, each student’s objectives were unique.

Freshman marketing major in the Pamplin College of Business Richard Dukes said, “I’m currently in the process of applying to become an RA, but just in case that falls through, I still want to find a good roommate. I don’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket.”

“I wanted to meet people with similar interests and ideas on roommate issues,” said Katie Jones, freshman animal and poultry sciences major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The “rapid roommate” system is modeled after the speed-dating concept and allows students to meet others, discuss expectations and interests, and select potential matches in a fun, face-to-face environment. After signing in, students were assigned numbers and had their pictures taken. Sitting across from each other at long tables, they introduced themselves and talked for about four minutes. When time was called, students moved on to the next person, with a short break in between to mark their scorecards. These were passed off to staff members who entered the corresponding information into a computer database. At the end of the night, students received printouts showing their top picks’ names, information, and pictures, and also showed them who picked them as the most compatible. Students were given time at the end of the evening to mingle and follow up on leads, if they wished.

At the end of the night, junior communication major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Gerald Goad said, “I really enjoyed it. This was a very good idea. I think I found a roommate and definitely met some friends here––some new faces to recognize around campus.”

“Roommate Roundup was a huge success and I believe it will become an annual event in one form or another,” said Ken Belcher, associate director of occupancy for the Housing Department. “For quite some time, our office has been looking into ways to bring the human element and interaction back into choosing a roommate, which has for the most part, been a computer-based process over the past decade. We look forward to reviewing the results in the fall to determine if the process helped to create better roommate pairings.”

Two $25 Dining Dollar prizes and an iPod shuffle grand prize were given away to attendees on each night.

For more information on this or future events, contact the Housing Office at (540) 231-2660.