Pick a Panther, find a friend

"Meeting new people is an important part of going off to college, and one of the best ways to do that is by having a roommate you didn't know before moving into the residence halls," said Allison Rolinger, a freshman from Cedar Falls.

Panther Picks
By using UNI's Panther Picks roommate-matching program, Allison and Rebecca were able to search for roommates they'd be compatible with.

Rolinger and her roommate, freshman Rebecca Holzrichter from Sioux City, found one another through the Panther Picks roommate-matching program, and they couldn't be happier.

Panther Picks is part of UNI's on-campus housing contract for new and returning students. By completing the online Panther Profile, also known as the lifestyle profile, students can search for other students they may be compatible with. The profile covers such topics as sleep and study habits, preferences for social activities, and tidiness—all important considerations when choosing a roommate. Panther Picks then suggests potential roommates based on students' answers to the profile questions.

"While reading Allison's profile, I noticed that we shared a similar outlook on life and that we enjoyed the same activities," said Holzrichter. "After messaging her on Facebook, we discussed things that would be important to know about each other before living together, and it was apparent that we were a good match. Contacting people on social media is very helpful so you get to know the person a little bit."

Rolinger said she and her roommate are always discovering something new about each other. "We love hanging out and watching movies. We also have a similar sense of humor, which is really important when finding a roommate. We have different schedules, so our sleeping schedules don't always match. We're courteous of each other, though, and make it work."

"Relationships take time to develop, and our friendship has grown throughout the semester," said Holzrichter. The new friends will room together again during the 2014-15 academic year, along with another young woman who lives on their residence hall floor.

"It's a big commitment to live with someone for an entire school year," said Holzrichter. "I liked using Panther Picks because I like the idea of finding a roommate with a similar personality and shared interests rather than getting matched with someone random."

Learn more about the Panther Picks program by contacting the Department of Residence at residence@uni.edu or 319-273-2612.