Pulling back the curtain on roommate assignments

Jan. 6, 2015, 10:49 p.m.
Every year, two Undergraduate Coordinators make roommate matches.(KEVIN HSU/The Stanford Daily)
Every year, two New Undergraduate Housing coordinators make roommate matches for incoming freshmen. Factors that help make pairings include bedtimes, noise level preferences and neatness. (KEVIN HSU/The Stanford Daily)

Roommate assignments are an important part of freshman year, but if you stopped a random student on the street, he or she probably wouldn’t be able to tell you who made his or her roommate assignment or how that person was selected for the job. With early action decisions released in December, some members of the incoming Class of 2019 are now embarking upon the Approaching Stanford process — including housing assignments.

Every summer, Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) has New Undergraduate Housing (NUH) coordinators pair incoming freshmen roommates. These NUH coordinators are Stanford students.

According to an emailed statement from Rodger Whitney, the Executive Director of R&DE Student Housing, NUH coordinators do not have to be from any specific major.

“We look for students who have a good mix of technical and interpersonal skills, as the job requires working with systems and organizing large amounts of data, but also being able to understand people and what makes a good roommate match,” Whitney said.

Whitney added that to become NUH coordinators students must “fill out an application and go through an interview process with staff and, if available, previous NUH Coordinators.”

Keegan Livermore ’16, one of the two NUH coordinators who made the roommate pairings for the Class of 2018, spoke about his experience making roommate assignments in an email to The Daily.

“For me, the most important factors were those that would influence if the freshmen would be able to physically occupy the space and cohabit peacefully,” Livermore said.

Livermore said that these factors included neatness, bedtimes and noise level preferences.

“​Another overall contributor is that we try to make sure that the residents within a dorm represent the diversity of the class, as well: different majors, different high schools, different towns, etc.,” Livermore added.

Livermore explained that the quest for diversity had a guiding rationale.

“The theory is that the diversity that exists within the freshmen class should be proportionally represented in every dorm,” Livermore said.

Livermore said that his best memory as a NUH coordinator came when he talked with a concerned incoming freshman about his housing assignment.

“I talked to him for about 15 minutes, sharing some of my personal experiences and talking about the pros and cons,” Livermore said. “At the end of the conversation, he said that it helped [a lot] and that he couldn’t wait to get to Stanford! It made me really happy to know that I was having a direct role in supporting the Class of 2018.”

Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Caleb Smith '17 is a Desk Editor from Oakland, California and is majoring in public policy. Outside the Daily, Caleb is Director of news at KZSU Stanford, the campus radio station. Have a tip or suggestion? Please contact him at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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