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Music unites first-year students

First-year roommates Julde Little and Jane Rudy routinely stage impromptu dance parties in their room in the Stetson East residence hall.

“We’re both big fans of singing and dancing to Britney Spears,” says Rudy, who’s no stranger to Boston’s pop radio station Kiss 108. “If we’re having particularly girly days, we’ll listen to Taylor Swift.”

After moving in together last fall, they quickly forged a bond over their shared taste in the Top 40. “It’s easier to connect when you’re listening to music out loud rather than through headphones,” Little explains, noting the duo’s kindred fascination with Disney movies.

Their friendship is not surprising. For two years, Northeastern’s Office of Housing and Residential Life has paired first-year students based in part on a roommate matching survey, which assesses personality, study habits, and taste in music.

The practice of pairing students based on music preference has significantly decreased the number who ask for room reassignments each semester, according to Tim Touchette, associate director of housing services.

Touchette, who is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, has studied the relationship between music taste and roommate compatibility for the last five years.

“Music is a great personality determinant,” he says. “Studies show that when you match people with similar personality types, they will be successful living partners no matter their field of study.”

As a case in point, Little is majoring in electrical engineering whereas Rudy is studying international affairs.

Both were originally selected to live in Stetson East because of their shared passion for humanitarian work. The residence hall comprises students who selected to be part of the university’s community-service Living Learning Community, of which there are more than two dozen.

Little helps high school seniors with college applications, and Rudy will spend her spring break building emergency shelters in Tampa, Fla. Both students have made good friends through the LLC.

“People are always willing to help you,” says Rudy. “Everyone is so friendly and outgoing.”