Living off campus brings up many challenges for students, and finding compatible roommates is one of the biggest.
Western Washington Univertiy’s Off Campus Living is dedicated to helping students enjoy a successful time living away from the residence halls during their time at Western. Their upcoming event, “It’s Raining Roommates,” aims to tackle issues for those struggling to find connections with other students wishing to live off campus.
The event will take place on Feb. 23 in room 265 of the Viking Union and will provide a chance for those looking to meet new people and possibly find their next roommates.
“We wanted to have an opportunity for students to just come somewhere to meet people that are looking to move off campus as well,” said Julia Burns, the Off Campus Living program manager.
The event will be set up in a speed date format with students given five minutes to talk to each other before being moved along to the next possible match. Students searching for a roommate to move in with during spring quarter are welcome, but the event’s main focus is for the 2023-24 school year.
For students unsure what topics they should be discussing during their five minutes together, Burns and the Off Campus Living team have set questions and cues.
Having the opportunity to connect with people prior to moving in together is a much smarter idea than hoping for the best with a random selection, Burns said.
Off-campus locations such as Elevate Bellingham and Stateside provide residents with that option. Those moving in without pre-determined roommates fill out a form with their living preferences.
“We're just looking for the most things that match,” said Kiersten Shjerven, a representative for Elevate Bellingham.
This process won’t always work, and while they do recognize the challenges it could bring up, Shjerven said, Elevate does not offer mediation services. Stateside offers very limited mediation services, according to their leasing office.
Fiona Dent, a third-year Western student who has faced challenges with roommates, believes it is crucial to take time when choosing who to live with.
“Try to get to know your roommates at least a little bit before you, you know, sign a legal contract with them to live somewhere because it's not easy to get out of those,” Dent said.
Using an event like “It’s Raining Roommates” could be a good way to put some feelers out for possible roommates, but spending more than the allotted five minutes together is an important move, Dent said.
“We're hoping that they at least connect with some people that they like and that they can form their own groups,” Burns said.
The event is part of Off Campus Living’s Renters Education series. The series includes events focused on rent and finding housing as well as the opportunity to meet possible landlords.
“Our main goal is supporting students living and moving off of campus. … Or you know, the myriad things that come up when you have to be a full adult, once you're living on your own,” Burns said.
Schedules for these events along with details about “It’s Raining Roommates” can be found on the Western Involvement Network website.
Miles Tennant (he/him) is a campus news reporter for The Front this quarter. He is a second-year planning to major in the news/editorial path of the journalism department. When not reporting, he enjoys playing soccer and spending time in the gym.
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