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UA Web site allows students to search for perfect roommate


By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
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UA students who still haven't found a roommate can search for one online, through a Web site run by the Commuter Student Affairs office.

On the site, which was launched in June, students can search for roommates for housing on- or off-campus according to individual preferences.

They can browse through 180 listings of houses, town homes, apartments and duplexes and can narrow their search by criteria like location and type.

While anyone can use the site to search for housing, roommate searches are restricted to UA students.

Students can search the approximately 150 people looking to find a roommate simply by entering their UA NetID and password. They can also place an ad for themselves, listing the type of roommate they are looking for.

"We want to provide information and resources to students so they can make an informed decision about where to rent," said Heather Gasser, senior coordinator for Commuter Student Affairs.

The site is free for students to search and place ads, but commercial advertisers can place a two-week ad on the site for $15.

In the past, students could either use the Off-Campus Housing guide to find housing or they could pick up a packet of roommate listings from the Commuter Student Affairs office on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center.

The site helps students who are from out-of-town find housing and roommates before they arrive in Tucson, Gasser said.

Alejandro Leano, an aerospace engineering sophomore, said the site is a nice alternative to newspaper classified ads.

"It's a really good idea," Leano said. "We just looked through (the newspaper). We didn't go through Commuter Services; they weren't very helpful. But I hear (the site) is pretty effective."

Kurt Anderson has been renting his guesthouse to students for three years and finds the Web site to be a much easier process than other methods such as advertising in the Off-Campus Housing Guide or in the Wildcat.

"I really like the new Web site. It's more convenient just to go online and I like that there is a place for a photo," he said.

Anderson said he is naturally choosy about who he rents his guesthouse to.

He was able to select from a variety of interested people and ended up choosing someone who had seen the advertisement on the Web site.

In addition to featuring photos of some properties, the site shows the address, distance from campus, neighborhood and number of bedrooms and bathrooms for each listing.

When searching for roommates and posting roommate ads, students can outline their preference such as non-smoker/serious student/open-minded, according to what they are looking for.

Gasser said the site is the third-most visited of all the student union Web sites. In the month of July alone, the site was hit 20,000 times and an average of 200 students search the roommate listings per month, Gasser said.

When advertisers or students submit a listing, a staff of six students from Commuter Student Affairs reviews each listing to make sure it is appropriate and approves it for posting.

The office also puts out the Off-Campus Housing Guide each February.

The Commuter Student Affairs office hosts housing fairs where property representatives can advertise on the UA Mall and answer questions about rental options. There is a housing fair in March as well as several over the summer.

The site can be accessed at http://www.union.arizona.edu/csil/csa/offcampus/online.



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