By Shannon Barbour
Campus Living and Learning is looking to provide a new housing software for students to select their own roommates and possibly change rooms if they are not satisfied.
Baylor is deciding among multiple softwares to replace the current system, RMS Housing, which has been used by Baylor for about 10 years. Possible softwares include StarReZ, a system that allows students to search for and message roommates in addition to reporting maintenance issues and tracking incident management.
According to data collected last year by CL&L, about 60 percent of students are satisfied with their roommates. CL&L is working to improve low roommate satisfaction rates with the new software.
“As we go through this, we anticipate the roommate matching [satisfaction] to drastically increase from what we have now,” said Ryan Cohenour, associate director for housing administration.
Cohenour predicts the new system will improve these numbers, which he said are often collected before students get to know their roommates.
Roommates are placed together based upon their room type preference and residential hall preference. Majors are not taken into account outside of specialized residential communities.
“Students are placed upon them wanting that hall or indicating that it’s one of their preferences and the other student also indicating it,” Cohenour said. “We put them in order and put them in without looking at any other data.”
Students are able to select their roommate only if the students mutually choose each other. Cohenour is looking to match students who don’t know each other already.
“There’s no way to openly search for another person that may be from a thousand miles away but may actually be the best roommate for you,” Cohenour said. “We wanted to have a roommate matching suite where they weren’t going to Facebook, they weren’t going offsite, that we were able to offer it all for our students internally.”
Weatherford sophomore Amy Davis said she would sign up for a roommate matching program to have more compatible roommates.
“I live in North Village so I have five roommates, and I can see how someone in my situation who is less understanding could have problems,” Davis said.
Schools such as University of California Berkeley, New York University and Ohio State University use StarRez for managing student housing and roommate matching.
Davis said Baylor should include questions focused on cleanliness and if a student will frequently have visitors.
Cohenour said he wants to include questions that are focused on study and living habits to better match roommates.
“Students don’t fail at roommates for not being not the best friends,” Cohenour said. “They fail at roommates at some of those things like they play their music late.”
Cohenour will not propose questions such as religious or music preferences in order to reduce segregation of students.
“They don’t necessarily get into that social aspect, but they get into can you be a good roommate,” Cohenour said.