– millions in lost revenue, alumni donations and untold emotional damage
I know the headline is somewhat sensational but every time I talk about MyRoomsolution I hear heart-wrenching stories about how unresolved roommate conflict led individuals to flee their dream schools and soured them on the way universities handle roommate conflict. A 2011 research study identified roommate conflict as one of the top 5 reasons students leave a university. Yet “roommate conflict” is overly broad and encompasses a range of topics from noise to sex to overnight guests to alcohol issues to study to cleanliness. Our research identified 12 key constructs and provides a way for students to talk about these difficult topics.
Moreover, my research with resident advisors has identified one two strategies in common use – direct residents to talk with each other or use room change. There are at least seven strategies resident advisors can use but are often overlooked in favor of teaching mediation (which is helpful but overly cumbersome for such “quick burning conflicts” like roommate conflict). Most conflict could be handled by supporting students with effective simple tools and strategies.
Living in the residence halls is one of the most significant student retention experiences and yet we are missing a significant strategic intervention point. We can do something about this, right here, right now, with no additional staff time. We can help our students to have the tools they need to be successful.