Residence Hall Life and Community Living

Community Environments and Mutual Respect

Living in a residence hall is a unique experience. After you leave the halls, it is unlikely that you will ever again find yourself surrounded by approximately 35 floor mates sharing all aspects of a common living space. Living in a group setting requires some adjustment in personal habits and attitudes. All residents have a role to play in establishing a positive community environment.

It is our belief that behavior demonstrates one’s commitment to respecting individual differences. We are individually and collectively responsible for our behavior and accountable for our actions. We must each take the initiative and responsibility for learning about and becoming aware of the rich culture that exists in our residence hall communities. We can best learn from each other in an atmosphere of positive encouragement and mutual respect. 

Your Room

You were assigned a room according to your Housing Community Preference form. Your room may be furnished with two of each of the following: bed, mattress, desk, desk chair, closet, and chest of drawers. Your room will also have an Ethernet connection (one per room) and cable television access (one per room). Phone service is available if you choose to activate it. With some creativity and a little effort, you can quickly and inexpensively transform your room into “your space.” Talk to your Resident Assistant (RA) or other residents for ideas. You are not permitted to paint your room.

While there is no cleaning service in your room, each hall is provided with cleaning equipment. The University does not carry insurance to cover theft or destruction of personal property. An informational brochure regarding insurance is available during the summer. If you have any questions about insurance, contact the University Housing & Dining Services (UHDS) office in Seal Hall. 

Roommate Guide

While having a roommate may or may not be a new experience for you, for most students, it is the first step in meeting a whole group of people who will be friends and colleagues throughout their lives. Even so, you don’t have to be best friends to be roommates. Everyone is an individual, and the differences among us are usually more interesting than troublesome. Roommates who learn compromise and consideration for one another will develop a valuable supportive relationship with respect for each other’s needs and rights.

Experience has shown that discussing the following issues will help prevent misunderstandings:

•       Use of personal items

•       Food in the room

•       Study time in the room

•       Sleeping schedules

•       Visitation and guests

•       Cleanliness/tidiness of room

•       Use of stereo/TV/telephone/computer

•       Time for socializing

Roommate Bill of Rights – 

Your enjoyment of life in University housing will depend, to a large extent, on the thoughtful consideration you demonstrate for your roommate and your neighbors. Basic rights of a roommate include the following:

1.      The right to a clean room in which to live.

2.      The right to expect that a roommate will respect your personal belongings.

3.      The right to remedy grievances. Housing staff are available for assistance in settling conflicts.

4.      The right to read and study free from undue interference in your room. Unreasonable noise and other distractions inhibit the exercise of this right.

5.      The right to sleep without undue disturbance.

6.      The right to free access to your room and facilities without pressure from a roommate.

7.      The right to personal privacy.

8.      The right to be free from fear, intimidation, and physical or emotional harm.

9.      The right to have guests during visitation hours with the expectation that the guests are to respect the rights of the host’s/hostess’s roommate and other community residents. 

Hall Government

You will find that the quality of your residence hall experience is directly related to your efforts to get involved in your floor and hall community. Hall governments are the primary source for changes made in residence hall life and operations. Hall government representatives work in conjunction with University administration on issues such as room and board rates, policies and procedures, improvement of the buildings, academic assistance services, educational programs, and leadership development opportunities.

The camaraderie that develops among residents is unequaled by any other living option. Residents who take advantage of this kind of community living environment tend to improve both their academic performance and their satisfaction with their college experience. Each residence hall community offers opportunities for you to get involved in numerous activities and programming. A great deal of this is through your hall government. Though the types of governing bodies may vary from hall to hall, there is always a way to ensure that your voice is heard. Many hall governments need students to work on committees that focus on facilities, dining services, and programming events. In addition, some floors elect officers to represent their floor during hall government meetings.

An educational programming fee is paid by each student to be used for programming at the floor, hall, and campus level. When you pay this fee, you become a member of your hall community, and you assume all the rights and privileges of a citizen in that residential community. This means you can become involved in hall government; you have input into the operation of the hall; and you can attend all the parties, dances, concerts, exchanges, movies, lectures, theatre trips, tournaments, and events that your hall organizes.

The hall government is responsible for deciding how programming fee money is used. The general assembly, working with an advisor, attempts to balance what is in the best interest of the hall and the hall’s residents. 

IHC (Inter-Hall Council)

IHC is comprised of students interested in improving their total living environment within the University residence halls. It is an organization of representatives from all five residence hall governments on campus, and it also serves as an umbrella organization for several subgroups within the residence hall structure. Founded in 1961, the organization is committed to the development of students—both academically and personally. IHC is also consulted regarding the interpretation and review of residence hall policies. It became affiliated with the Illinois Residence Hall Association (IRHA) in 1979 and has been in the forefront as a residence hall government group. IHC has been a leader in IRHA and organizations such as the Great Lakes Association of College and University Residence Halls (GLACURH) and the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). 

Hall Staff/Resident Assistant

Resident Assistant/Hall Staff

Residence hall staff live in the residence halls so that they can assist and counsel students.

The Resident Assistant (RA) living in your community is a student who has been selected for the position because of his or her leadership skills, concern for others, ability to communicate, knowledge of University resources, and willingness to accept responsibility. RAs receive extensive training and are your primary source for information and assistance during the school year.

UHDS is looking for students with the interest and skills to become an RA. Talk with your current RA or Complex Director if you would like to learn more about this dynamic student leadership position.

The Assistant Complex Director (ACD), a graduate student working toward a master’s degree, lives in the hall. ACDs may advise student government, supervise the information desk staff, coordinate building repairs, supervise RAs, and coordinate activities in the halls. ACDs are responsible for the operation of the hall in the Complex Director’s absence.

The Complex Director is responsible for the operation of the hall and lives in the hall. The Complex Director is a full-time professional with considerable experience in residence hall work. Each Complex Director has a master’s degree in the counseling or college student personnel fields. The Complex Director is responsible for and supervises all other staff members in the residence hall. She or he is responsible for seeing that the residence hall is a supportive environment for students.

The Residence Hall Clerk is available in every residence hall or residence hall complex. A hall clerk is a full-time Civil Service staff member available to provide administrative services during regular working hours. The Residence Hall Clerk assists with the replacement of lost room keys, room change requests, and the processing of maintenance and repair requests.