Single dorms: As roommates leave, students choose more money or new company
At the beginning of last year, history education junior Sebastian Skinner’s roommate got homesick and moved out, leaving Skinner in a double alone.
Instead of going through the roommate reassignment process, he took another one of the options the housing department gave him.
He paid around $1,300 extra to change the double to a single.
Unlike Skinner, after plans with an original roommate fell through, anthropology senior Ally Nazaruk arrived on move-in day expecting to see someone else’s name on her door.
But she was not reassigned a roommate and has been looking for one since August.
“There’s not a lot we can do, especially with students who just don’t show up to MSU,” Director of Communication for Residential and Hospitality Services Kat Cooper said. “In that case there’s literally nothing to be done, they just aren’t here. We do try and get people reassigned as quickly as possible because we want you to be with the community you’re going to live with for the rest of the year, we want you to get to know your roommate during the fall welcome activities so we’re trying to get people consolidated as quickly as possible in those situations.”
Though Cooper said housing typically takes action within 72 hours of receiving notice of a student left without a roommate or a student departure, Nazaruk finds the process to be lengthy and difficult.
“They told me to figure it out,” Nazaruk said. “(The community director) said there’ll be different mixers, and I haven’t heard of a mixer yet, it’s only been people emailing.”
The housing department gives three options to students in this situation: paying the full price for a single room as soon as possible like Skinner did, finding someone new themselves, or being randomly assigned to another student and moved by the department.
“It’s not like ‘meet up, talk, see if you like each other,’” Cooper said. “It’s kind of like, ‘go down and knock on the door and see if that’s okay with you’.”
Instead of dealing with the possibility of living with someone he didn’t know well, Skinner chose to remain in his room alone after his best friend moved back home.
According to Cooper, there are benefits to deciding to get a new roommate in these kinds of situations.
“If a student wants to have a single, if we have the space, we’re more than happy for them to do so,” Cooper said. “But certainly we think that having a roommate is a really good development. And I think a lot of people find that even when they’ve gone in blind and don’t know their roommate that they become good friends, it’s someone that they care about for years to come.”
After the first semester of last year, Skinner was moved from his double-turned-single room in Phillips Hall to the third floor that consisted of rooms designed to only be singles.
Comfortable and surrounded by friends in his original spot, he didn’t want to switch rooms, but had no choice. Living among students who were on their own made it difficult for him to feel a sense of community.
“I don’t think it’s smart to designate a floor for singles like that,” Skinner said. “At least on my floor, they were just really quiet. They kept to themselves, which I don’t mind, but I think the whole point of college is to not do that, get out of your shells and talk to people. And if you’re around 40 other people that do the same thing, you’re not really growing at all.”
There has been no clear date given for Nazaruk to make a final decision.
She continues to have her corner room to herself until the process speeds up and she acquires a new roommate.
But, Nazaruk said the process isn’t all bad. She’s adjusting to her own space.
“I mean it really can’t be hard to put two people together,” Nazaruk said. “I don’t know why it’s taking so long. On the bright side though, I have my own room.”