Information for Parents and Families
Parents and families are important partners during a student’s transition to living independently on campus. We’ve pulled together the answers to some common questions and concerns that parents and families have during the first year your student will be living on campus.
What do RAs and other upper-class mentors do?
Resident Advisors (RAs), along with first-year fellows and D’Lions, are important resources for first-year students to help acclimate them to life living on-campus, at the University in general, and to be good upper-class role models and mentors.
Their primary functions are administrative (helping with check in, roommate agreements, occupancy verification, floor meetings, and other important paperwork), planning and implementing programs for their floor and their building, referring their residents to on campus resources, and to serve in a rotation of other RAs from 8 p.m.-8 a.m. that we call being “on duty” or on-call in which they respond to emergencies, help students who are locked out, and complete building rounds to ensure the buildings are secured and any facilities issues are called in.
Residents can expect to get regular emails from their RAs (about important things they need to do, upcoming programs, or just to check in) as well as see their RA around the hall regularly. RAs are students also, so many of them are very involved with their academics and co-curricular involvements, and some even hold other jobs, however residents should always know how to contact their RA or the RA on duty if they need assistance.
RAs are not expected to be on their floor and respond to student concerns 24/7. We have an RA on call system as well as Public Safety to assist in emergencies. Students are welcome to contact their RA to make an appointment for non-emergency support.
Fellows and D’Lions are leaders on the floor however are not considered employees and have very specified tasks and a job description that is much smaller than the RAs. While fellows and DLions are active and programming members of the floor, residents should not expect the same type of availability as an RA or a professional staff member.
If a parent or family member has a concern, we encourage you to contact your student’s area office to speak with a professional staff member and not directly contact an RA, fellow, or D’Lion as they are student leaders whose primary job is to be a peer mentor to other students.
What if you haven’t heard from your student and are concerned?
If a parent or family member has a concern about a student, we encourage you to contact your student’s area office to speak with a professional staff member. We ask that you do not directly contact any student leaders such as RAs, Fellows, or D’Lions. We can pass on a message to the student or send someone to knock on their door.
You can also contact Public Safety for an urgent, emergency, or overnight concern.
We do recommend coming up with a communication plan before your student’s arrival on campus (i.e. a phone call every Sunday, what to do if your phone is lost, etc.) so that both you and your student know what is expected to avoid these types of concerns.
What if my student is struggling?
There are lots of options if your student is struggling with adjustment, with a roommate, or anything else. You can call your student’s area office to let them know what is going on. We can provide you with options to tell your student, send a staff member to check on the student, or just intake the information to keep an eye on.
How do special deliveries and mail work?
Our office does not run the mail services on campus, so for specific information about mail please see the Mail Center’s website.
If you are hoping to have something directly delivered to the hall (flowers, cakes, etc.) please note that these vendors will not be able to access the student’s hall as they are all secured with card access. While you may want this to be a surprise, you will need to provide the student’s phone number so the vendor can call them to retrieve the item. The Area Offices are not equipped to take a hold mail of any kind for students so these types of deliveries will need to be made directly to the student or to the mail center.
When does my student need to come and leave campus?
Move in and move out information is emailed to the student and available online at least a month in advance but here are some good rules of thumb:
Students are typically able to move in a few days before the first day of classes. Only incoming first-year and transfer students during August (or January if your student starts in January) move in are given a specific move in time. All subsequent move ins there will be a date on our calendar that returning students are able to start moving in and students can move in at any point after that date.
Every year has the following breaks: fall break, thanksgiving break, winter break, and spring break. Only winter break requires all students to sign up for winter stay housing or leave campus and only some buildings are open for break housing so students not living in those halls will need to temporarily move there.
In December and May all students not signed up for break housing or summer housing must move out 48 hours after their last finals. Faculty sometimes provide these in syllabi however the registrar’s page also posts them in advance for all classes. Students who need to stay late for employment, commencement, or athletics, must request this from their Area Office (directions on how to request this are typically emailed out three to five weeks in advance from the area coordinator.
What fees should we be aware of?
Please ensure you and your student are reading the full housing contract and student code of conduct. Students can be assessed fees for damage billing in their room, common area damage billing on their floors or in the hall, conduct fees for violating conduct policies, improper check in, improper or late check out, improper room change, lock changes for lost keys, etc.
If you have a question about a fee, check the contract or student code of conduct and feel free to call the Area Office or office that assessed the fee for questions. Keep in mind that a student’s personal information cannot be shared without their consent however our Area Offices are more than happy to explain how a fee could be assessed or what a fee could be for without sharing a student’s personal details or situations.
My student is not getting along with their roommate, how do they change rooms?
Know that adjusting to living with one or even two roommate is one of the many transitions your student is going through. We require all first-year students to complete a Shared Living Agreement with their roommate(s) during orientation however it is not uncommon for the things that students write in that agreement so early on to need to be revisited after a few weeks or months. Not all roommates are going to be best friends, but many people can live well together after they have set the right boundaries and learn to respect each other’s space and living. The RAs, GHRs, and area coordinators are there to help.
At the first sign of trouble, we hope the students reach out to their RA so we can give some tips, do a revisiting of the Shared Living Agreement, or have a roommate mediation if needed. If open to it, roommate mediations work. Keep in mind that sometimes this work needs to be ongoing as a compromised reached may not be realistic or working for one or more parties but keeping the RA informed and letting them help is half the battle.
If things still aren’t working, we can discuss the opportunity for a room change. Note that with first-year housing usually having a number of overcapacity spaces, there may not be rooms available to move into. This should never be the first step but is always an option.
Use the first-year room change request form to request a room change. The room change request form provides an opportunity to indicate preferences and special requests. The directions and process for each semester is spelled out on the form. Read it carefully and be sure you understand the steps and return the form via email (as a .PDF) to the address on the form. We will do our best to offer you a change that meets your request.
Students have 48 hours to decide to accept or decline the new assignment. Failure to decide within the specified time limit will result in the offer being withdrawn. If a student declines multiple offers they may be removed from the room change offer list. Room changes are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the school year and through the summer (for returning students), as vacancies become available. First-year students are not able to request a room change until classes begin in the fall semester.
Can parents/guardians/friends spend the night on move-in day (check-in)?
No, all visitors will be asked to leave your residence hall; however, there are several hotels in the area that may accommodate these persons.
What are the visitation policies/procedures/guidelines?
Visitation for the residence halls are established by the Office for Residential Life and Housing Services and are intended for academic and healthy socializing. Visitation is not designed for overnight co-habitation or extended stays. Please check with each area for more specifics.