By Rylee Holmes
Not all students walked into the dorms on move-in day to a stranger assigned as their roommate.
Not all freshmen were introduced to somebody new.
Incoming freshmen are now able to make roommate requests for their first year at FSU.
A “snapshot” just before move-in for the fall 2019 semester showed 1,810 students living on campus this year, 734 of whom are freshmen, according to Glenn Cochran, associate dean of students and director of residence life.
The housing capacity of FSU is 1,972, according to Cochran, meaning approximately 91.78% of available spots are full this academic year.
The change to allow freshmen to make first-year roommate requests comes from now having the “technological capability of doing it,” said Cochran. “We thought if people continued to express an interest in it, we could make it happen.”
The deadline for first-year students to submit these requests was in June, and approximately 115 pairs made requests. “We were able to accommodate about 50 additional pairs later,” said Cochran, making a total of about 165 freshmen pairs who made roommate requests.
According to the Residence Life FAQ page, Framingham State does not offer a roommate-matching survey. “We noticed anecdotally a lot of people finding people online,” said Cochran.
Without a roommate-matching survey, some students opted not to choose a roommate because they didn’t know anybody else attending.
Freshman Halle Merkowitz said she did not choose a first-year roommate because she did not know anyone who was also attending Framingham State, and not choosing was the “easiest way to do it.”
It “was a chance to meet a new person,” she added.
Freshman Kassandra Orcutt also did not choose a roommate and has had a positive experience, although she said she recognizes the advantages of giving freshmen this option to choose.
“It definitely gives you security of knowing your roommate and skipping all those awkward steps of getting to know them,” said Orcutt.
Sophomore Jianni Henderson-Brown thinks this change in assignment is “good,” but said choosing a friend as a roommate may lead friends to “clash,” since they’ve never experienced their friendship in a living situation.
Cochran also pointed out selecting roommates doesn’t always work out. “We’ve had conflicts with people that have met each other that wanted to be with each other … and I know I’ve seen that anecdotally for years,” he said.
Junior transfer David Kaine views the new change in freshman housing assignment policy as a “wasted feature” if you don’t know anyone else coming to the school.
Kaine spent his freshman year of college at Salem State and did not choose his first-year roommate there. “I didn’t really care who my roommate was as long as they were friendly, which they were, so it worked out,” he said.
Junior Noelle Bouvier said given the choice, she probably wouldn’t have chosen her first-year roommate, either. “Most of my friends from high school didn’t go here and I liked getting a random roommate,” she said.
Senior Brenna Fehan thinks giving incoming freshmen a choice of roommates is a “good idea” if there is somebody you know from your hometown attending FSU as well.
Sophomore commuter Emma Sullivan said had she lived on campus freshman year and had she been given the option to choose, she would not have picked a first-year roommate.
Sullivan said not choosing someone you know as a roommate is “a bigger risk,” but living with someone you don’t know “could be a bigger reward because you could have a friend you may have never met.”
Senior RA Andrew Knorr sees both the advantages and disadvantages of freshmen being given the option of choosing first-year roommates.
“I think it can really help them get more involved with the school because they end up knowing someone, so they’ll have people to go to different events with and they’ll feel more comfortable living somewhere other than home,” said Knorr.
Knorr added, however, that not knowing your roommate can also be beneficial. “When you know people, you feel more comfortable, so you stay in that same group … whereas if you don’t know people, you expand and find new friends and really get outside your comfort zone,” he said.
Whether being placed with a roommate or choosing your own, Cochran described roommate dynamics as being a “self-fulfilling prophecy sometimes. … Having a positive outlook on it and being realistic about it is the important thing.”