Miami Roommates Display Love and Honor

Ze Chen Zhang and Hags HagemanZhang and Hageman When Miami announced March 10 that it would transition to online instruction, Hags Hageman figured it wouldn’t be long before he left the Oxford campus to live with his family in Lorain, Ohio.

Two days later, his grandmother came and picked him up and they headed home. But his roommate, Ze Chen Zhang, did not have the option to go home to Beijing, China to be with his family. The global outbreak of COVID-19 had severely restricted global travel. Zhang, who started at Miami in January, stayed in Emerson Hall.

It was later that week when Hageman’s father Kent, Miami Class of 1986, suggested they invite Zhang – who had acquired the nickname “Lou” – to live with them.

“I left for a few days and my dad just said, ‘Let’s offer to have him stay with us until he can go back,’” said Hageman, a first-year student majoring in finance with a minor in entrepreneurship.

Zhang’s spring semester at Miami has been his first trip to the United States. After most students left campus, life in the residence hall got “a little lonely,” he said. He was happy to have a place to go.

“There weren’t too many people around anymore,” said Zhang, who has not declared a major but is considering education. “I lost my roommate and I don’t think they [Miami administration] were expecting people to live here.”

He said online courses are going pretty well at the Hagemans’ home. His plan had been to spend this summer in the U.S., but he does plan to return to China after graduating from Miami.

“Because of the virus, I cannot go back to China right now,” Zhang said. “I’d pay more money to buy a plane ticket and I’d have to be quarantined. I’m really appreciative that they (Hageman’s family) took me in. We’re getting along OK. I’m pretty happy here.”

As for Hageman, he said taking classes from home have been “a little more relaxing” than if he were on the Oxford campus, but he’s starting work on the First Year Integrated Core (FYIC) Challenge in the Farmer School of Business.

“Get up, get some work done, hang out with the family – that’s pretty much it,” he said of the normal day.

He said Zhang is adapting to his life away from the residence halls.

“It’s a bit of a culture shock for him, but he’s doing really well.”