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New students adjust to living in residence halls
Thursday, August 30, 2012 9:00 PM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Steve Larson after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-6612 or steve.larson@wichita.edu.

Background:
Going to college marks a major transition for new students. For many students, it's the first time they're away from home. It also may be the first time they're sharing a room with a stranger. Steve Larson, director of housing and residence life at Wichita State University, says gathering some basic information can result in a success rate of 80 to 90 percent in matching students as roommates.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: College freshmen face a number of challenges when starting school. But one of the most important is getting along with a roommate. Steve Larson, director of housing and residence life at Wichita State University, explains what helps many new students find a successful match.

Larson: "Yeah, it's nice when roommates, when they meet somebody on campus, whether it's through a tour, through its orientation, through a specialty program, honors program, something like that when they can meet somebody, and then we'll match them up. And we'll easily accommodate that. We want them to pick their roommate if they can."

Announcer: Although Larson expects most roommates to succeed about 80 to 90 percent of the time, sometimes roommates just don't get along. However, many college roommates become good friends for a long time. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Larson says it's not unusual to have a high success rate of matching students as roommates. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "make good changes."

Larson: "When we try to match people, we know that we're going to get about 80 to 90 percent success rate just from basic questions. And I think a lot of it is going in with the right attitude of these students knowing they're going to have a roommate, knowing it's going to be new, knowing it's going to be some transition. And we're happy with that success rate and sometimes it doesn't work, and when it doesn't work, we want to make good changes."

Sound bite #2
Larson says there's a higher level of success when he gets prospective roommates talking and communicating. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "higher level of success."

Larson: "When we're matching roommates, we really want to be sure that they're talking and communicating. And part of that is through open-ended questions. Part of it is not the yes or no stuff. Tell me something you like to do. Tell me about some of your personal interests. Get them talking and that's the way we get success. Once you get them talking and communicating, we know we're going to have a higher level of success."

Sound bite #3
Larson says there are times when roommates just don't get along. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "just not going to work."

Larson: "We like to look at it as the honeymoon stage. Sometimes these roommates are not going to work and within two to three, maybe four weeks we know if it's not going to work. Then we want to sit down and have a conversation with them and get them out of there. But sometimes it just doesn't work. No matter what questions you ask, it's just not going to work."

Sound bite #4
Larson says that helping students find a good roommate is a huge piece of their transition into college. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "into college."

Larson: "Well, with roommates we find out that sometimes it's not a good fit. And when it's not a good fit, you know, sometimes it's a personality conflict. Sometimes it's interests, and it just doesn't work. From a housing department, we want to sit down with them at that point and make sure they're going to have a good match because it's a huge piece of their transition into college."

Sound bite #5
Larson says it's tough for roommates to get along sometimes. The sound bite is 24 seconds and the outcue is "working with our staff."

Larson: "Well, most students, before they come here, they have their own room, they have their own bathroom, and then all of a sudden now they come to college. They're in a residence hall room. They're sharing space with someone who's an arm's length away from them, and they're sharing personal belongings. They're sharing a bathroom. It's tough for them sometimes. I think we understand that it's tough for them and we want them to acclimate themselves by having open-ended questions and working with our staff."

Sound bite #6
Larson says roommates often become good friends. The sound bite is 23 seconds and the outcue is "and it's neat."

Larson: "I will say that most of the time your first roommate is somebody who will actually, you'll know for a long time and become good friends (with). I remember back in college who my roommate was. I think it's tough because you go into it not realizing what this relationship is going to be, but once you live with somebody and you go through those personal, you know, sharing bathrooms and sharing personal space, you get this connection with them, and it's neat."

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Contact: Steve Larson, (316) 978-6612 or steve.larson@wichita.edu.