Lead Responsible Party
Jennifer Uryniak, Interim Director, Auxiliary Services, and Rob Hradsky,Vice President for the Student Experience
University Response to Original Concern
The University commits to working with students on this issue and on the future development of multicultural learning communities. There are legal aspects of roommate selection by identity that will constrain any solutions; selection of a roommate based on mutual interests can be enhanced in our process.
University Response to Expansion/Addendum
B. In the fall, the University purchased roommate-matching software My College Roomie to allow students to have greater control over the selection of their roommates. Students will be able to select roommates based on common responses to survey questions and student profiles that include photos. The University offered to do a demo of the software for any students who desire to learn how it works. The software is being piloted this spring, and the University committed to soliciting student feedback on how it’s working in the fall of 2020, after roommate assignments are made and experienced for a period of time.
C. The University agreed to expand multicultural learning communities. For fall 2020, the University is adding one new learning community for first-year students in Day Hall, and one new learning community for sophomores, juniors and seniors in Ernie Davis Hall. The University commits to better advertising these learning communities to incoming and current students. Based on student interest, the University will add learning communities or identity-based housing communities to as many residence halls as possible.
- Based on student feedback during the spring 2021 assessment of My College Roomie, the following changes have been made to the platform by the vendor:
- Search fields were enhanced to search for student names and communities
- Website was branded and customized, and a mobile application has been created
- Messaging and chat features (like Facebook) have been added with the ability to like and comment on posts
- Improved matching criteria information section, including how many roommates are eligible to be selected, how many have been selected, deadlines, etc.
- The application deadline for first-year Living Learning Communities (LLCs), including Multicultural Living Learning Communities, is June 20, 2021. If requested by a student, the Office of Learning Communities will work with the Housing Office to continue to place upper class students in LLCs and MLLCs throughout the summer.
- The Living Learning Communities (LLC) and Housing Office websites were updated to reflect new room selection process. The housing contract for LLC was updated to reflect the participation level and appropriate behavior expectations of students living in LLCs.
- This spring the University will solicit feedback from students who participated in the Upperclass Multicultural Living and Learning Communities (UMLLC).
- The University will add Brewster Hall (33 spaces) to the MLLC portfolio for a total of 140 spaces for fiscal year 2022. Additionally, the University will add 40 spaces in Watson Hall to the portfolio for UMLLCs for a total of 112 spaces.
- The hiring of resident advisors to serve the Living and Learning Communities is underway.
- To further enhance recruitment to MLLCs, student testimonial videos and quotes are being solicited, work is being done to embed the application process within the housing selection process in April and each school and college admissions recruiting office is adding information to student recruitment and welcome information.
December 2020 and January 2021
- Preliminary quantitative data is available from the My College Roomie survey from fall 2020. The My College Roomie Satisfaction Survey was developed by the Office of Student Living; Housing, Meal Plan and I.D. Card Services; and Institutional Research to collect data on student experiences using the My College Roomie system in advance of the Fall 2021 semester.
The survey was sent to students who were eligible to use the system, regardless of whether they had used the system or not. (Records from the My College Roomie system showed that 86.5 percent of eligible students had logged into the system at least once.) There were 3,479 students who received the invitation to take the survey. The survey opened on Nov. 5, 2020, and was closed on Nov. 23, 2020.
A total of 733 students responded to the survey, for a rate of 21.1 percent. The response rate was somewhat higher for students who had used the system (21.8 percent) than those who had not used the system (16.6 percent). More qualitative data is expected during spring 2021.
October and November 2020
- Based on student interest, the University will add learning communities or identity-based housing communities to as many residence halls as possible and continue with advertising and marketing enhancements. An essay will not be required to be placed in a first-year Multicultural Living Learning Communities (MLLCs).
- Due to some students changing their fall attendance plans this year, there were changes in the number of students enrolled in the Multicultural Living Learning Communities (MLLCs) compared to numbers reported earlier this summer. At the end of August, the following students are living as a part of the MLLCs: 17 first-year students living in the Day Hall MLLC, 14 first-year students living in the Lawrinson Hall MLLC and 43 upperclass students living in the Ernie Davis Hall MLLC.
- CARE Speaks will be offered to students in the Upperclass Multicultural Living Learning Community (UMLLC). Ongoing meetings are being held to secure faculty partners for the MLLCs.
- Forty-six first-year students have been placed in a Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) for the fall semester. Fourteen are international students. Staff members are working with schools and colleges to identify faculty advisors for the Upperclass MLLC.
- The newly created Upperclass Multicultural Living Learning Community will be on the fifth and sixth floors of Ernie Davis Hall; 63 students have been placed there for the fall. The expanded First-Year MLLC in Lawrinson Hall has 27 students for the fall and the one in Day Hall has 80 students. Additional marketing is being done with admissions and the schools and colleges to recruit more students to live in an LLC, including a direct mail to incoming students, virtual recruitment sessions and Parents and Family Newsletter posts. Outreach to faculty members is continuing to support MLLCs.
My College Roomie went live, as planned, effective March 15. There are currently 303 active users who are completing their profile and filling in their interests.
- The My College Roomie (MCR) marketing plan development is in progress and software testing will begin March 1. Students will be invited to join MCR beginning March 15 upon completion of their housing application.
- The Office of Learning Communities has announced a new Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) for sophomores, juniors and seniors. This expanded living learning community (LLC) was created in alignment with the recommendations made by students in the fall semester and feedback received from more than 220 students via survey and in-person conversations. The feedback from students helped the Office of Learning Communities in establishing the Upperclass MLLC’s purpose, location, room type and activities and in identifying potential faculty/staff advisors.
- The Upperclass MLLC will focus on multicultural education, cross-cultural dialogue and community building and will be located in Ernie Davis Hall. In addition to the Upperclass MLLC, the Office of Learning Communities has expanded the Indigenous LLC, International LLC and the LGBTQ+ LLC. These options are now available to juniors and seniors, in addition to sophomores.
- Sophomores are also eligible for the MORE in STEM LLC, Whitman Leadership LLC and Substance Free Theme Housing. Details about each of the upperclass LLCs are available on the Learning Communities website lc.syr.edu/join-a-learning-community/current-students/current-students-lc-choices.html. The deadline for current students to apply for the Upperclass LLCs was Sunday, Feb. 23. Students will be notified of their LLC placement in early March. Those who are registered for an LLC for their sophomore, junior or senior year do not need to participate in the housing registration process.
- The Housing and Residential Experience Campus Engagement Committee held two meetings on Feb. 10. The committee formed five sub-committees: Housing Portal, Multicultural Learning Communities Expansion, OSL Staff Training (RAs and full-time staff), OSL Staff Recruitment and Selection (RA and full-time staff), and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives for Residential Students.
- The committee began reaching out to faculty, who were identified by students in the MLLC survey, to serve as potential partners working with the Upperclass MLLC.
- My College Roomie was purchased Dec. 1 and is currently being implemented. The “go-live” for the software, which assists in roommate selection, will be later in the spring semester.
- The University received student feedback on the Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) by survey and “drop-in” meetings in December and January. A final decision on expanding the MLLC is expected in February when applications open for upperclass learning communities.