From Roomies to Besties
I am a senior at St. Olaf College, but I still remember being nervous to move into my first-year residence hall and meet my roommate. I had texted him a bit and knew general information about him, but I had no idea what he’d actually be like. I didn’t know if we’d have any of the same interests, or if our sleep schedules would line up, or what would happen if we didn’t work out as roommates and I had to go through the entire process again!
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. Atle Wammer ’24 and I not only worked out as roommates that first year on the Hill, we are now in our fourth year living together. Sure, new beginnings can be awkward. However, with open communication, late-night trips to the Pause, and a shared love of Star Wars, we’ve become close friends.
“Intensely residential” is used to describe St. Olaf a lot. The phrase is a little abstract for me. But knowing that I have someone who has my back and supports me, even when I feel like I have no idea what to do? That’s the power of our residential community, and I’ve been lucky to find that in my roommate.
I’ve been wondering about how many other Oles have had similar experiences — making those connections and living with the same roommate year after year — so I reached out to my friends and acquaintances. It turns out that Atle and I are far from alone. I found a bunch of people who have lived together for multiple years and had a blast learning a bit more about what made each of their roommate pairings so special.
These are their stories. Use the slider on the photos below to get a glimpse of these roommates in their first year together, and then see them now.
Mira Tomten ’25 and Elena Kehew ’25
Majors: Mira: Environmental Studies┃Elena: Mathematics and Studio Art
Hometowns: Mira: Boise, Idaho ┃ Elena: Minneapolis, Minnesota
How They Met: Mira and Elena met on the first day of their first year and instantly became friends. They decided to live together starting sophomore year and have been roommates ever since!
Favorite Residence Hall: “Both Ytterboe and Rand halls have been great experiences for different reasons. We enjoyed Rand for our cozy room and private bathroom, but Ytterboe felt much more social,” Elena says.
Why It Works: “Elena and I have similar schedules for both classes and sleeping, which makes it easy to coexist. We feel comfortable communicating with each other when needs arise, and we don’t ever get tired of each other,” Mira says. “At the end of particularly stressful days, we will sometimes get cozy and watch Modern Family together. We always debrief our days, but on especially hard days we enjoy spending time together to end the day. We also love getting ready together in the morning and listening to music while we start the day. And we have matching stuffed animals: Mort and Girt!”
Pippi Berge ’25 and Ella Boers ’25
Majors: Pippi: Asian Studies, Chinese, and Economics ┃ Ella: Chinese and Music
Hometowns: Pippi: Madison, Wisconsin ┃ Ella: Tacoma, Washington
How They Met: Pippi and Ella were paired together their first year — and they’ve enjoyed living together so much that they were even roommates when studying abroad together!
Favorite Residence Hall: Larson, for the great location right on the Quad.
Why It Works: “Rooming together is fun because it’s just like hanging out with a friend!” Pippi says. “Our most memorable moments as roommates have been watching the eclipse, rooming together in Europe on a J-term study abroad trip, and spending over 40 hours in the span of two weeks beating this video game called Cat Quest II. We were obsessed!”
Beck Dziedzic ’24 and Evan Wiebe ’24
Majors: Beck: Dance ┃ Evan: Computer Science
Hometowns: Beck: Minneapolis, Minnesota ┃ Evan: Boulder, Colorado
How They Met: “We initially were paired up randomly, and we really actually didn’t talk much before meeting in person,” Beck says. They have gone on to live together on campus for all four years.
Favorite Residence Hall: “We had this wonderful little room in Thorson. We had a window seat and put a couch in that room. It was really cozy, and I have a lot of good memories of that room!” Evan says.
Why It Works: “Every year we put together more and more bizarre and wild roommate agreements — since we already understand the basic rules of the room, it gives us the opportunity to write some unexpected stuff,” Evan says. And the two know how to have fun through friendly pranks — one year, Evan dressed up as Beck for the President’s Ball!
Sydney Monge ’24 and Abby Johnson ’24
Majors: Sydney: Biology and Environmental Studies ┃ Abby: Music and Management Studies
Hometowns: Sydney: Minnetonka, Minnesota ┃ Abby: Santa Monica, California
How They Met: “We chose to room together after living on the same floor of Kildahl as first-years,” Sydney says. “One day my door was propped open and Abby was walking by and saw a poster in my room of a band that she liked, so she popped in and told me! Now we’re going on three years of living together.”
Favorite Residence Hall: The 5th floor of Thorson Hall, also known as the “Princess Suites.” “There are four rooms on the top floor of Thorson that have a lofted space and a staircase with an A-frame ceiling. It was such a fun space for us and a total hidden gem of St. Olaf dorms,” Abby says.
Why It Works: “We ‘get’ each other as roommates, but more importantly as people and friends. Even though we have different schedules, majors, activities, and interests, we’ve learned how to support each other and communicate,” Sydney says. “It also helps that we have similar styles — we love combining our posters and decorations to create a cozy, colorful atmosphere in the rooms we’ve had.” Sydney and Abby even started a band together along with their other friend, Sylvia Shutes ’24, at the end of their first year. “Our dorms have doubled as practice rooms and jam session spaces while, of course, trying our best not to disturb our neighbors!” Abby says.
Atle Wammer ’24 and Fenton Krupp ’24
Majors: Atle: Asian Studies, Chinese, and Race and Ethnic Studies ┃ Fenton: Computer Science
Hometowns: Atle: Portland, Oregon ┃ Fenton: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
How They Met: “We were paired up and talked a little before moving in, but we met during move-in and got along instantly,” Atle says.
Favorite Residence Hall: “Atle and I had a sink when we lived in Thorson, which was a convenience we didn’t fully appreciate until we didn’t have it anymore!” Fenton says.
Why It Works: “We have had a lot of great moments getting large pepperoni pizzas from the Pause (probably a few too many times!)” Atle says.
The vibrantly residential spirit of St. Olaf is not just about the buildings: it’s about the people inside them. It’s the students jamming out in their rooms, laughing over late-night pizza, and hanging out by the fireplaces in the lounges. It’s a bond that remains well after graduation.
For these Oles, roommates became family, and residence halls became home.