Data driven dorm distribution for student harmony
AS THE NEW SEMESTER approaches, Nanjing University has been allocating dormitory rooms to freshmen based on online survey results of their living habits, such as their sleeping schedule, so as to match each fresh student with some suitable roommates. Beijing Youth Daily comments:
For college students who have to share a room with others on a totally different schedule life can be hell. If one student sleeps and gets up early while his or her roommate sleeps and gets up late, both will feel tormented.
Problems caused by this have emerged so often in the past that many college students complain about dormitory life. Sometimes the differences even lead to violence.
Nanjing University's latest efforts might help to solve this problem. According to previous surveys, different living schedules are a main cause of the problems among roommates, others being social tendencies and tempers. Last year the university distributed dormitory places mainly based on surveys of living schedules, while this year it has improved that process by collecting more data such as students' habits and tempers.
Such a move should be encouraged because it optimizes the existing resources instead of requiring more. Colleges do not need to rent more dormitories for their fresh students. All they need to do is to rearrange the current ones and make students more satisfied. It would be better if colleges allow students to change their dormitories in their four years in college.
Some argue that by doing so the colleges put too much emphasis on adjusting to the students, and it is the students who should adjust themselves to suit college life. They say that living with roommates with different schedules and personalities should be part of the challenge of stepping out into the world on their own.
Such thinking is rather outdated, it originated in the days when dormitory rooms were rather crowded. When eight students or even more had to share one room, it is rather difficult to keep everything in harmony. As domestic colleges are still not able to provide enough dormitories so that each student gets one, it is a good idea to distribute them among students according to their habits, instead of randomly.