Seeing Double

August 1st, 2010

On campus: Going 50/50, a “random roommate” may be better

By Kimberly Cornuelle

In the slide show above, Claire McKinley (CAS’12) reflects on her time in Danielsen Hall.

Bena Reiter and her roommate didn’t know each other before they met at their Bay State brownstone this year. And Reiter (CAS’12) wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I think it’s better living with a random person,” says Reiter. “You have two separate lives. Living with a friend, if there’s a fight, it’s transferred into your friend group.”

Reiter would know. In two years she has had four roommates. She started freshman year living with a luck-of-the-draw roommate in Warren Towers before transferring to a Bay State Road brownstone to live with a friend. Prior to moving in, she hadn’t met this fall’s roommate, who had been on an apartment waiting list and moved across campus when a spot opened up. So now she is sharing with Emma Rosenthal (CAS’12).

“I’ve had a lot of roommates, but it’s been fine; I don’t take it personally,” says Reiter. “I’ve definitely been lucky.”

But having a roommate you didn’t know ahead of time is best when it’s just the two of you, she says.

“I prefer a double for anyone,” she says. “If you need to say no to your roommate, it’s a 50/50 decision. It’s easier to get what you want. In a triple or a quad, majority rules.” The key, according to Reiter, is also not being in the dorm all the time. “My roommate and I are both pretty active on campus,” she says. “It’s nice to hang out in our room, but I really only come back to do homework or sleep.”

Claire McKinley (CAS’12) also took the random-roommate option for her double in Danielsen Hall, on Beacon Street.

“A lot of my friends are juniors this year and moved to StuVi,” says McKinley, who is president of the Danielsen Residence Hall Association. “So I thought I’d save some money and stay at Danielsen, and it’s worked out pretty well.

Students who live in a standard double, triple, or quad room can expect to pay the lowest rate for housing per year, $7,980. Both Reiter and McKinley hope to move up to apartment-style housing next year, which starts at $10,570.

But living on Bay State has its advantages, says Reiter, who enjoys her privacy and the tree-lined atmosphere. She says it can be difficult for first-time BU residents, though.

“In Warren Towers, it was very easy to meet people,” she says. “You had an entire floor to interact with, and you could take the elevator to the floor above or below to meet a ton of people. In a brownstone it’s just those 12 to 14 people. Your floor becomes your family.”

McKinley agrees that it can seem remote, even though there are more freshmen in Danielsen than in a brownstone. But, like Reiter, she thinks moving away from a larger dorms is the way to go for sophomore year.

“You hear about people who stay in Warren as sophomores, and you think, why would you decide to do that?” she wonders. “It’s a really freshman-oriented place. I understand it’s convenient, so I guess if you really don’t care about living amongst cinder blocks…”

“As a sophomore, I’d say go for a brownstone,” says Reiter. “I absolutely love my room. It feels like home, not a dorm.”