Decisions to be made about living on campus
March 6, 2008
UW-River falls students have some decision making to do about whether or not they are going to live on campus next fall, and who they plan to room with.
First and second year students attending the University have to live in campus housing, according to the 2008-2009 Residence Life and Dining Services Contract. Returning students are also supposed to sign a housing contract by May 1 if they plan on living in campus housing next year. There are some exceptions to the mandatory housing rule.
“If a student lives within commuting distance, is married, is 21 years of age or is a veteran, they don’t have to live on campus,” Jason Neuhaus, the west area coordinator for Residential Life said.
A student also does not have to live on campus if they are a single parent, according to the housing contract. Students that have disabilities are evaluated on a case-by-case basis as to whether or not they have to live on campus their first two years at UWRF.
“There is no specific disability that keeps students from living on campus,” Mark Johnson, the UWRF disability services coordinator said. “The Americans With Disabilities Act sets the ground rules, so we need to have documented information about the individual’s situation to make a decision.”
After disability services reviews a first or second year student’s request to live off-campus it must then go through the Residence Life office to be approved, according to the housing contract.
Incoming freshmen and transfer students often get assigned roommates. This can lead to conflicts from time to time.
“I was placed with a roommate freshmen year and it was interesting,” Brittany Warren, a UWRF senior said. “Being with a roommate after each of us having our own rooms for a number of years was kind of a college culture shock, but we seemed to work it out.”
Warren was also placed with a roommate the first semester of her sophomore year, but it was difficult for the two of them to get along.
“The first semester was hell,” Warren said. “I think it was mainly due to our different social circles and personal choices.”
Warren subsequently moved out at the end of the semester and was placed with another roommate.
“The second semester was great,” Warren said. “We got along like two peas in a pod.”
Severe roommate conflicts like the one that Warren experienced are not the norm at UWRF.
“We have a very low amount of roommate conflicts here,” Neuhaus said. “By asking a few questions students become vested in trying to make relationships work.”
If a student is having a problem with his or her roommate there are people that can help to try and solve conflicts that arise.
If roommates are having trouble getting along they can talk to their Resident Assistants (RAs) or Hall Managers, Neuhaus said. If differences cannot be worked out through the mediation of RAs or Hall Managers, then students can put in requests to be moved.
“There’s usually a freeze through the first six weeks of the semester, but after that time frame they can ask their RA or Hall Manager if there are any more spaces available in that building or another building,” Neuhaus said. “As long as they’re making some attempt to deal with the issues, we are usually pretty willing to let them move to a different space if that’s what the student wants to do.”
Neuhaus stressed that conflict resolution is key to living on campus though.
“If you don’t learn to deal with your conflicts, you’re just going to get in another roommate situation,” Neuhaus said. “Avoidance isn’t a good lifelong skill.”