Living off campus is a luxury for seniors at Ithaca College. In order to fill off-campus housing vacancies because of students studying abroad and students graduating early, some students have taken to Facebook to post ads in specific groups run by sources outside of Ithaca College.
Facebook has become a widely used outlet for students searching for subleases, making it a leading platform for this purpose. To help facilitate this, Facebook offers a step-by-step video on subletting, explaining how to begin the process. Some Facebook groups look specifically for students looking to sublease, while others require approval from group administrators even to make it into the group to see posts.
Senior Steffani Farquharson was one of these students who, in January 2021, was looking for a place to sublet. She used Facebook as her search engine and found an open room in a three-bedroom apartment in Ithaca, which allowed her to take over another person’s part of the lease for a specific period of time.
“If you’re looking to get a room for yourself, it’s a great place to go because people are reliable,” Farquharson said.
Aside from finding housing, Farquharson said her roommates from her sublet are now some of her closest friends. She said ads for housing through Facebook offer a way to meet new people.
Although Farquharson is a part of the college’s Class of 2023, she is still waiting to be approved to join the Class of 2023 Facebook page. Until she is approved, she is unable to see or make posts through the group. Instead, she posted through the Ithaca College Class of 2024 and 2025 groups, as well as Cornell University Housing, Sublets and Roommates.
The Cornell University housing page on Facebook breaks down the process of creating a post into steps. A sublet post includes the property’s address, how many rooms there are, the availability of the space and the price. There is a form with fill-in-the-blank answers that makes sure all the necessary details regarding the property are displayed.
Cornell University and Ithaca College Apartment and Roommate Finder is a public group on Facebook with over six thousand followers. This page features listings of apartments and rooms to sublet in the Ithaca area.
Although Farquharson’s first experience finding a sublet through Facebook was successful, her second attempt to find someone to sublet is proving to be more difficult, she said. She posted an ad in December on behalf of her roommate, which received no activity. Posting an ad can be hit or miss — it is not guaranteed to work, but it is an excellent way to reach various people, Farquharson said.
Senior Jane Pfeufer similarly said she was attracted to Facebook because she knew many listings were posted.
“I got a few solid people that were interested, and messaged me via the messenger app,” Pfeufer said via email. “A lot of them ghosted, or just forgot to respond, but others were very interested.”
Pfeufer was looking for someone to replace a spot in her apartment because she had found a different apartment, which resulted in an unexpected need to search for someone to sublet her room. However, Pfeufer said that the time of year that a post is made may affect how much activity the post receives. According to the National Apartment Association, the best time to sign a lease is between December and March. The worst months are between May and October.
“I would recommend others use Facebook but I recommend posting earlier in the spring semester,” Pfeufer said via email. “By the time I had posted, most people had already found a place to live.”
Welcoming someone new into your living situation can be scary, fifth-year student Hannah Leask said. Because Leask was not a part of the roommate selection process, she said she had to welcome a stranger into her home to live with her.
“I dealt with the aftermath,” Leask said. “The thought of living with a stranger gave me freshman-year vibes.”
Leask said it felt like she was forced to deal with the situation because she did not have a say in the process; she just had to deal with whatever happened and did not know what to expect. However, Leask said that overall the situation ended up working out well.
Communication is essential in creating a healthy living environment, Leask said. Expressing how the household typically operates, expectations for living, and being upfront and honest can help stop many issues from occurring. Leask said the transition of welcoming her new roommate was eased by ensuring an open line of communication.
“She was not someone I would have met otherwise,” Leask said. “I would definitely do it again.”
Between finding the right roommates and waiting for a response, the Facebook sublet hunt can prove difficult. Despite this, Farquharson said it also creates an easy way for college students to reach out to others.
“It was successful for me, so it could be successful for others,” Farquharson said.