If your roommate could have a free round-trip ticket to any destination in the world, where would it be? How many times a day does your roommate check his or her e-mail? When is your roommate’s birthday?
Sophomores Jonathan Miller and Luke Fisher, roommates in JBKO, were able to answer these and other questions during “The Roommate Game” at the Kogan Plaza barbecue that marked the end of the first-ever GW Housing Programs-sponsored Roommate Appreciation Week last Thursday.
Miller and Fisher challenged sophomore roommates Evelyne Ferraris and Tereza Pereira of 2109 F St. Sitting beneath the clock tower in Kogan, the pairs squared off at a table scattered with red stickers exclaiming “My Roommate Rocks!” A steep pile of roommate contracts was held down at the corner of the table with the helium tank used to fill balloons for the occasion.
Ferraris and Pereia coincidentally matched, each clad in black fleeces and blue jeans, with long dark brown hair worn down over stud earrings. Miller and Fisher also dressed similarly in sweatshirts, jeans and brown leather shoes.
Meredith Laurie, a graduate student and house mentor for 1959 E St., hosted the game. “If you haven’t figured it out yet,” she said, “roommates are a good time.”
“You could say that (we’re friends),” Miller said after the game, carrying the pair’s prize, the “Would You Rather.?” board game. “(But) we had no idea we knew so much about each other.” Fisher laughed and nodded. “Vague generalizations took the day,” he said.
The barbecue was the culmination of Roommate Appreciation Week, an initiative by GW Housing Programs to foster healthy roommate relationships between students living together on campus. The week’s slogan, “Bringin’ Out the Love!” captured the umbrella goal for the first annual week.
“We want to encourage residents to appreciate their roommates for the things that they have done right, rather than just worry about the things that have gotten them mad,” said Meghan Edmond, a community director with GW Housing Programs.
Senior Gillian McHale, a house scholar for JBKO, noted that sophomore year is often the hardest year when it comes to dealing with roommates.
“You have chosen to live with people that you have known for a year but might not know everything about them,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time it starts out fine, and then the little things start to eat away. Maybe there’s hair in the sink or they leave the ketchup out. They’re the kind of things that can cause frustration if they’re not talked about.”
Sophomore roommates Melissa Cradic and Emily Grebenstein, who met up at the barbecue, said they are lucky with their living situation.
“We compliment each other’s schedules well,” Grebenstein said. “When we wake up, one of us uses the kitchen and the other uses the bathroom. It’s not that we’re perfect, but I have friends with a lot more tension. Even though they’re sophomores and they chose to live together, they’re starting to rethink assignments.”
Sophomores Samantha Laszlo and Andrea Viola, friends living in a Fulbright triple, said they feel that their tight quarters make living together a challenge.
“We’re affected more (than students in bigger dorms) because there’s nowhere to have your own space.” The girls originally had a fourth roommate – a close friend – who moved out in favor of a larger room.
Laszlo and Viola said they agree that events such as Roommate Appreciation Week can “encourage you to talk about issues.”
More roommate contracts were filled out this week than any other, Edmund said. The forms are optional for upperclassmen. Because it was the program’s first year, Housing Programs targeted upperclassmen, said Edmund. It will be open to the entire campus next year.
The week in November was chosen because Nov. 14 marks the end of the room-swap process, which happens to be the time, Edmund said, “when roommates are settling in and understanding how the other lives.”