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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Life + Arts

RoomSync lets UH students swipe to find roommates


Roommates don't have to be friends

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

For many young adults, moving out of the house and into their own place is one of the first steps most take along their journey to adulthood. The process can be daunting however, as the path is lined with pitfalls that can turn what should be a landmark display of maturity into a slog of never-ending headaches.

A major concern when it comes to moving out is finding a suitable roommate. If you don’t already have a friend in mind, choosing the right person can be a difficult task. Fortunately, the University has implemented an app that will hopefully make the process a bit easier for incoming students.

The app, called RoomSync, was first rolled out as a Facebook integration back in 2013. It has since been fully implemented into the student housing process at UH as a standalone app. Described in a company tweet as the “Tinder for roommates,” the app lets students swipe through a list of other students also looking for roommates.

“You’ll see a list of people who you can choose to skip or like anonymously,” said company spokesperson Robert Castellucci. “Each user will have a compatibility score, calculated based off a short lifestyle questionnaire completed upon registration.”

RoomSync’s goal is to allow students to get a superficial understanding of a person’s interests and habits to see if they would make a good pairing. In essence, the app’s primary function is to serve as an icebreaker for introducing students interested in meeting potential roommates, Castellucci said.

“One of the main uses of the app is really just to start conversations,” Castellucci said. “Especially if you’re a first year freshman, you don’t know anybody, you might have a little bit of social anxiety, it helps to know that there’s someone out there with similar interests.”

Beyond social difficulties, the ramifications of roommate selection are far-reaching. A 2001 UH study conducted on randomly selected roommates at Dartmouth University found that a student’s roommate can have a strong impact on their university experience, including effecting their GPA and likelihood to consume alcohol.

To address this, RoomSync places an emphasis on involving the student in the selection process, as opposed to a match-maker service that simply ranks students based on interest and assigns a roommate as “most compatible,” Castellucci said.

“We have found the vast majority of people want to be a part of the process when it comes to deciding who will be living a few feet from them for the rest of the year,” Castellucci said. “We also found that when people are involved in the process of selecting their roommate, they take more responsibility in the decision and are thus more willing to work through any potential disagreements that may occur.”

Though the app is currently in use at UH as well as at many other universities across the nation, it is evolving in response to user feedback.

“We’re constantly adapting to the needs of our clients,” Castellucci said. “We recently added the ability for students to add their preferred pronouns to their profile, and are always working to adapt our service to best serve the student body.”

Students interested in using RoomSync to find a roommate should receive an email with an invitation link after applying for housing.

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