Campus Blog

Housing Harmony | Diving into EU’s roommate selections

February 25th, 2014 | Hope Hamilton

When it comes to finding your perfect match, Evangel takes their job very seriously. No, I’m not talking about your ring by spring (that’s up to you to orchestrate), I’m referring to the roommate selection process. While all new and returning students have the option of requesting a roommate from among their friends, most new students don’t know anyone they would like to room with. Enter Evangel’s amazing Housing Director, Pam Smallwood.

Curious about the roommate selection process, I met with Mrs. Smallwood recently to ask her about how she does her job. This is what I learned: After students are accepted to EU, they are asked to fill out a survey about their roommate preferences. This survey includes a wide variety of information, much of which is based on a numbering system. For example, one question is “How many hours a day do you expect to spend studying?” Then students are prompted to select the number of hours they plan to study.

This survey has been fine tuned to include everything that affects the harmony of roommates. Other questions include inquiries about sleep schedules, sharing, loudness, cleanliness, music genre preferences, academic interests, extracurricular involvement, and several other categories. There are also portions of the survey where students can describe what is most important to them in a roommate.

Once students have filled out the survey, the system shows Mrs. Smallwood the top 5 matches for each student. She then will spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour with every student’s profile trying to find the best roommate pairs. Generally students can access their roommate’s name and contact information by the beginning of July, and can begin to discuss their room and build a relationship. (If for some reason at this point people decide they are not compatible with their roommate, Smallwood said this is the easiest time to request a change in roommates).

I owe a great deal to the EUHarmony system (okay I made up that name), and Smallwood’s careful attention to detail.  My first semester at Evangel, I was “randomly” paired up with the person who would quickly become my closest friend. She has now graduated, but we are still best friends and will be for a long time.

I know this is not the case with everyone, and Smallwood addressed that by advising students to not expect their roommate to be their best friend. Sometimes it’s better to have a roommate just be a great roommate, and remember there are dozens of others on every floor to build close friendships with.

Another piece of advice Smallwood offered for incoming students was to focus on being a good roommate, not having a good roommate. I can concur this is excellent advice when it comes to being is such close quarters with many other young people. Smallwood also advised students to be honest when filling out their roommate preference survey.

Be realistic when filling out your survey, and then relax. Your roommate may or may not be your best friend. Just know that you are in good hands, and even now, Smallwood is searching for the perfect roommate match for you.

Not living in a residence hall? See what life is like for commuter students

Hope Hamilton

Advertising/Public Relations Major | Class of 2014

Hope is a senior Advertising/Public Relations major with a minor in Nonprofit Business and Social Enterprise. She is from Vero Beach, Florida, and loves people, the outdoors, music, worship and missions. Hope is currently the assistant director of outreach for Evangel's CROSSwalk student ministries organization.

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