Considerations When Picking Roommates
Having a healthy roommate relationship is central to an enjoyable housing experience. Whether selecting a roommate from our matching program or sharing roommate codes, we strongly recommend that potential roommates communicate ahead of time. Many problems can be avoided with open communication. We have found that some of the most important considerations are as follows:
1) Active Hours and Resting Hours
Try to match with a roommate that will have the same general schedule as you. Our online personality survey will match you with people who begin and end their days at similar times to you. We also encourage you to consider what times you would like to use the room for studying or entertaining guests, and communicate this desire with your roommate(s).
2) Personal Property and Buying Items
Although all roommates will need to communicate about sharing food, game systems, and other personal items, this is especially important in Bryant Place and University Terrace. In suite-style housing, residents will need to supply bathroom and cleaning supplies themselves. Communicating purchasing expectations and indicating "personal" and "communal" items is a must.
3) Cleanliness and Organization
While we do have certain minimum standards of cleanliness as part of our safety and security inspections, it is still important to speak to roommates ahead of time to understand cleaning schedules and responsibilities. In buildings with common areas, this can be especially important to avoid conflict.
Communicating whether you are a heavy sleeper, someone who needs silence to study, or someone who has a noisy morning routine can help avoid problems. Many study rooms and social areas exist on campus so that roommates can respect one another's needs for silence, and can share use of the room equally.
Remember that communication requires listening, and make sure to respect any differing opinions your roommate may have!
Resolving Roommate Conflicts
If a conflict does occur, we have many resources available to our residents to resolve issues before they grow. The first and best option in any roommate conflict is to contact the RA staffing each wing. Resident Assistants are thoroughly trained in mediation and conflict resolution skills, and will be able to facilitate an open, honest, respectful communication. Most conflicts can be resolved by this mediated conversation as long as it is brought to the RAs attention before it escalates.
If an RA is unable to guide two roommates to an agreement, we also ahve the option of a roommate contract available. These contracts are designed to address the primary areas of concern and create a written document which explains what each roommate will do to improve the situation. These are not intended to force either roommate to change their behavior, but to instead identify every problem area and map out a series of actions to satisfy everyone's needs.
Finally, we have professional Resident Directors available for each building which can discuss restrictions or special living arrangements. This final option is intended to resolve conflicts that are outside of the normal range of issues, and will attempt to draw clear, resolute boundaries and action plans for each participant. Often, the RD will then request that an RA evaluate the situation regularly and make changes as necessary.
Room swaps exist to allow residents to move into more favorable buildings and rooms during the semester. Residents are not allowed to swap rooms without the consent of the department, as this can cause numerous financial, organizational, and other issues. There are a few different ways to receive a room swap.
1) Mutually Agreed Swap
The fastest and most successful room swap occurs whenever several people agree to swap with one another and contact their RA or the housing office with a finalized plan for the swap. All involved residents must agree to this swap, which means everyone who will be moving, everyone who is in a room receiving a new roommate, and anyone who is in a room that will receive a vacancy.
2) Vacancy Waitlist
Sometimes a student will want to switch to another room or building without knowing someone in that building to swap with. If this is the case, we offer a vacancy waitlist. Interested students will need to speak to us at the housing central office and explain their preferred room. If a room becomes available of that type, students will be moved into it on a first-come, first-served basis. This waitlist can sometimes take several weeks, and we encourage residents to attempt to resolve issues in their current living arrangement before applying.
3) Resident Director's Swap
If a situation arises which warrants moving out of a room as soon as possible, such as a change in medical status, that student should contact his or her RA or RD. The student will then need to meet with the Resident Director which serves them and explain their situation. The Resident Director will make an evaluation of the situation and determine the best course of action. This is a drastic approach that should only be taken when no other option is sufficient, as Resident Directors will often attempt to resolve issues before considering a swap, which can delay the process.
While we encourage residents to be certain of their housing choice when completing their application, we understand that situations can change in surprising ways and want to leave the option for room swap open. However, before the third week of classes, we institute a "Room Freeze" and cannot approve any room swaps.