Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Speed roommating a success at USM

Patrick Higgins

Posted on March 22, 2016 in Community
By USM Free Press

Patrick Higgins

By Raquel Miller

How do we choose roommates?  They are the people we will be living with for varying chunks of time, so hopefully our roommate is the kind of person we are looking for.  What are we looking for?  Are they like us?  Are they a student?  Do they work?  What is their major?  What do they believe in?  Are they an introvert or an extrovert?  Do we know them? Are they our best friend from high school or a kind stranger? These are all very important questions to consider before making a final decision.

In some ways, the questions we want to know about our roommate, are similar to ones that we would want to know about someone we might start dating.  

On Mar. 9, student activities hosted a “Speed ‘Roommating’” event in order to relieve any anxiety students feel about finding a roommate for the upcoming school year.  A take on the “Speed Dating” concept, in “Speed Roommating,” located at Lower Brooks on the Gorham campus, students received a name tag where they wrote a basic idea of what roommate they are looking for a fellow honor student, a specific gender or gender neutral person, or even if they have no preferences at all.  

In 3 to 5 minute rounds, students met briefly to get to know each other.  

Coordinator of Student Activities, Samantha Elliot, states, “Regardless of rooming preference, every student will have an opportunity to speak with all the students attending.” 

“We want to help build friendships as well as find roommates!”  In 3-5 minutes, students will have the option to utilize note cards with questions they could ask a potential roommate, but students are encouraged to ask questions that are important to them. The conversation can be guided in whichever direction participants feel comfortable with.

Ideally, after their 3-5 minutes interaction, students will have a general idea of whether or not they like the person they met with–and ideally, like them enough they might want to live with them–so they will right their name down on a notecard to be turned in at the end of the night.  

In order to minimize pressure and promote a sense of comfort between students, contact information will not be exchanged during the event.  If two students both write down each other’s names on a card after a successful meeting, Student Activities will send contact information to the matches.  

3-5 minutes is a very short amount of time to get to know another person, or even fit in some meaningful questions, but the limit of time encourages students to ask the questions that are important to them.  

Thankfully, if students are having a difficult time warming up to each other, Student Activities provides an ice breaker question like: “If you had to be one age forever, what age would you be and why?”  The icebreaker question aims to get each person thinking and become comfortable with one another.  


Often, students struggle to meet new people after the school year begins.  They find their group of friends and classmates, forgetting that we are on a campus full of other interesting people.  


Eliot notes “We have been noticing for some time that after the first few weeks of the year, students become less likely to strike up a conversation with someone they do not know and that can make it difficult to meet new people or even change friend groups throughout the year.”

Even if a student doesn’t match with someone else, hopefully, they will have made a new acquaintance or new friend.  

Speed Roommating is a new concept and event at USM.  Student Activities is trying something new with “Speed Roommating” and taking notes on the ways students mix and interact with one another in this kind of setting.  Regardless of the turnout, Student Activities will use successful techniques and use them to return to in the future, whether it be through “Speed Roommating” or another event.  

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