News – University of Iowa


Written By Emily Schettler, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Thousands of people across the country use online programs to find potential dates. Now students at the University of Iowa can use a similar service to help select a roommate.

“I’ve been calling it for roommates,” Ryan Cohenour said of the new software that allows students to fill out a survey about themselves and find other students with similar habits and interests who may make good roommates.

Cohenour, assistant director of contracts and assignments in UI Housing & Dining, interviewed more than 200 first-year students as he developed questions for the survey, which covers everything from preferred room temperature and how students feel about overnight guests to whether they go home on the weekends or are OK with living with someone who smokes.

In the past, students were partnered at random based on the type of dorm room they requested.

Cohenour said he hopes the new survey will help more students find a roommate who is a good fit.

“We’re anxious to see if we have a decreased number of students asking to switch rooms next year,” he said.

The software, known as StarRez, will help with other administrative tasks as well, including billing, and correspondence.

“One of the great things about the new software is it allows us to do everything electronically so there’s no paper waste,” said Tiffany Bentrim, marketing coordinator for University Housing and Dining.

Once students fill out the StarRez survey, Cohenour said they’ll be able to see others who had similar interests, habits and personality traits.

Then it will be up to the students to seek out their potential roommates, either on Facebook, over email or by other means.

“There may be students from Solon and Chicago who most likely have never met, but they may be the best roommates ever,” Cohenour said. In the past they would have never connected before coming to campus, but now they can see all their corresponding information and communicate with one another.”

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