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Roommate at first sight?

WWU’s office of Off-Campus Living to host roommate speed dating event

An illustration of two roommates arguing in a dorm room. Roommate conflicts can be avoided and de-escalated with open communication. // Illustration by Sam Fozard

Navigating the search for a roommate match can be a daunting task for students living off-campus for the first time.

Western Washington University’s Off-Campus Living will be hosting a roommate speed dating event on Feb. 13 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in room 565 of the Viking Union. This event aims to help students meet and connect with suitable roommates for the next school year.

According to Dawson Kamalu-Nako, the program manager for Western’s office of Off-Campus Living, the roommate speed dating event will give students a chance to ask questions to potential roommates. During each round, students can ask their own questions, as well as talk through a list of provided questions surrounding living preferences with each potential match before they rotate.

“Come with an open mind and come with a list of the things that are important to you and come up with a list of the things that you know you're okay with giving up, whether that's you know, sharing a bathroom, or whatever the case may be,” Kamalu-Nako said.

Off-Campus Living is a resource available for “helping students find housing, helping students find roommates, how to understand the lease, where the best places to look are, who to stay away from, and anything in between,” Kamalu-Nako said.

“Successful roommate pairings are typically categorized by shared values, mutual respect and effective communication. Residents who have similar cleanliness, social habits and lifestyle preferences typically live together in a more positive living experience,” Kenzie Rardin, the leasing marketing manager at Lark Bellingham, said.

Having roommates can be a chance for new friends and a sense of community. On the flip side, it can present challenging conflicts. 

At Western’s Off-Campus Housing office, Kamalu-Nako has assisted in instances where arguments over dirty dishes or music volume have escalated to a roommate moving out in the middle of the night without any communication. This resulted in the other roommate being stuck paying both sides of the rent and utilities.

Mary Stinson and Micheal Goldman are Washington residents who have both dealt with roommate horror stories.

Goldman recalls a story from the first night he met his former roommate. “One of the first things he did is he walked into the party, did not like the music that was playing and karate kicked through a subwoofer.” 

As Goldman continued to live with this roommate, the dynamic only got worse. “He had an opinion on anything you did. He would watch you in the kitchen when you were cooking. Like ‘That's not how you're not supposed to hold the knife.’”

Goldman’s advice to students looking for a new roommate is to have multiple options available. “That way, you're not in a bind, necessarily, to choose the one person that did apply,” he said.

Stinson had a roommate who had the washer and dryer in her room, and often prevented her from accessing the room to change her laundry.

Although Stinson has experienced challenging roommate conflicts, she also reflects on positive experiences.

“Some of the best times that I've had in my life have been with my roommates,” she said. Whether it's being there for each other when you're sad, or you're not feeling well, and you have roommates that genuinely care about your health and well-being.”

In order to avoid a roommate horror story, have plenty of conversations with your potential roommates and come prepared with questions, Kamalu-Nako said.

In addition to the upcoming roommate speed dating event, Western’s Off Campus Living office has events to help students find housing for the upcoming year. These events can be found on their website.

Julia Larson

Julia Larson (she/her) is a campus life reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a second-year journalism/public relations major and a German minor. In her free time she enjoys baking, collecting crystals and traveling. You can reach her at

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