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Lifetopia Web site brings roommate matching system to University

February 12, 2009

A new program called Lifetopia, a Web site that allows student residents to search and pick who they want to room with, went live Feb. 5 for new students and will go live in December for returning students. 

Students who want to reside on campus will be able to go to the Web site, www.uwrf.roommateclick.com to create a profile that will allow them to search and match up with roommates that they are compatible with. The Web site allows a student to answer questions about their major and interests as well as information regarding cleanliness, studying and other living habits a person may have.

“When students come in nine times out of 10 they coexist but some may have different schedules. Like sleeping—some people sleep a lot and others just a little,” Alyse Good, a Johnson Hall Resident Assistant, said.

Students can also provide additional information as well as download pictures of themselves. Students will be able to contact each other through e-mail and by a chat feature that works similar to instant messaging. It will show when a person is on the Web site and able to chat.

“The biggest thing is that when people get to be able to choose who they room with, they’re happier and they’re happy for a long time,” Greg Van De Mark, UWRF information systems analyst, said.

Students can search for roommates two ways, by criteria or by browsing. Once a student has found someone that they want to room with they can request to be their roommate and once the other person accepts, they will be assigned roommates. This is different from the previous process in matching roommates, where it was only a few key characteristics that linked students together, but this allows students who have never met before to become roommates. 

“It may not reduce the number of roommate conflicts but they’ll take responsibility because they signed up for that roommate and they’ll work through it, typically, themselves,” Jason Neuhaus, west area coordinator of Residence Life, said.

If a student changes their mind about rooming with someone they can delete them and continue searching until May 1 when the process is finalized. An e-mail will then be sent notifying that person that their roommate has dropped them. Once two students have decided to be roommates they can deactivate their account so other students will not be able to search for them. However, if they decide to change roommates they can always reactivate their account to begin searching again.

“When I came in as a freshmen I was nervous about who my roommate would be so it’ll be a good opportunity to secure that relationship,” Kyra Scanlan, a Hathorn Hall RA, said.

Lifetopia has been discussed by the Residence Life staff since June but the contract was not officially signed until November. Preparations for the Web site to go online have been in progress since early December.

A meeting for the Residence Life staff was held on Feb. 2 for the final preparations for the Lifetopia online roll out. The meeting included a conference call to Michelle Rivera and the Lifetopia Projects staff in New York to show UWRF staff members what the Web site looks like and how it operates.

“I never anticipate problems, but I’ve encountered problems,” Van De Mark said. “We always have back up plans in case something doesn’t go right.”

Postcards with information regarding the new Web site will be distributed to those students who have signed a housing contract or those that have showed an interest in rooming in the residence halls.