One of the greatest rewards of living in a residence hall is the living-learning experience. Learning about others’ values, lifestyles, interests, habits, hobbies, moods, and needs can be one of the most valuable experiences gained in college. Most roommate experiences have the potential to be ideal, but it takes work from all parties to keep them growing and positive. Residents may be very similar or very different, and it may take some work to develop that relationship.
Although it may be difficult to talk about differences when roommates are first getting to know each other, to live well together, residents will need to realize and resolve differences early in the relationship. The first step is to discuss the things each resident values, such as backgrounds and lifestyles.
Understanding Each other and the Roommate Agreement
In order for roommates to get along, it is important to understand how each person feels in certain situations and what each person’s expectations are around certain living together issues and/or topics. To help facilitate this all residents will be asked to complete a “Roommate Agreement Form” within the first week of moving-in. The RAs will check with their residents to make sure the residents are being successful in completing this agreement.
Should Conflict Start to Arise
Should conflict start to arise, residents should first try to discuss it/talk it through and resolve the conflict on their own. If talking it through proves too challenging, it is important that the residents connect with their RA right away so that the RA can assist in mediating the conflict or coaching the residents through it. In working through the conflict residents are encouraged to:
- Talk to their RA about the conflict early on. Situations can be best resolved when they are new and individuals are still able to work it out. Waiting and not saying anything may just make things worse.
- Be mindful about who they share their differences with. While it may be important to “vent,” venting to the wrong person may result in individuals getting involved, taking sides, or rumors which ultimately results in a messier situation.
- Remain calm and take a deep breath. Conflict is a part of life and this is an opportunity to learn to resolve conflict.
“Roommate Bill of Rights”
- The right to study free from undue interference in one’s room. Unreasonable noise and other distractions inhibit the exercise of this right.
- The right to sleep without undue disturbance from noise, guest of a roommate, etc.
- The right to expect that a roommate will respect personal belongings.
- The right to live in a clean, safe, and healthy environment.
- The right to free access to one’s room without pressure from a roommate.
- The right to privacy.
- The right to host guest(s) with the expectation that guest(s) are to respect the rights of the host’s roommate and other residents in the community.
- The right to settle conflicts. The RAs and the SHARE Staff are available for assisting in settling roommate conflicts.
- The right to be free of fear of intimidation, physical or emotional harm.
- The right to expect reasonable cooperation in the use of “room shared” appliances (refrigerator, etc.) and a commitment to honor agreed upon payment procedures.