Sarah Gaither, Duke University
Title: Roommates @ Duke: Cross Group & Random Assignment
Abstract: Today's college students are in an increasingly diverse society, yet the majority of students still live in segregated communities across the United States before moving to college. Thus, the college dormitory marks a potentially meaningful and naturally existing cross-group experience that can help pinpoint how intergroup contact may positively shape social attitudes and reduce bias. In my talk, I will first review my past work investigating cross-race roommates for first-year students and how this experience positively shapes future interracial behavior. Next, I will discuss my current work exploring similar questions here on Duke's campus by exploring the potential positive effects that may stem from having an outgroup roommate more broadly, in addition to whether having a randomly-assigned versus a self-selected roommate influences student diversity outcomes. Plans for a recently funded project involving secondary analysis of existing university data focusing on student diversity contact on campus will also be discussed.