One of the hardest parts of the transition to campus life is the adjustment to having a roommate. Typically, a majority of students arrive at college campuses across the country without ever having to share a room, ever having to ask someone to turn out the lights so they can sleep, asking permission to have a friend over, or ask someone to clean up their toothpaste on the bathroom sink.
At ODU, a majority of our students have either roommates or suitemates and must make the appropriate preparations to make the living arrangements as successful as possible. The staff members of the Office of Housing & Residence Life have training an expertise in this area. We have also developed some expectations, recommendations, and procedures to help this be a successful situation for all students.
All students living in Freshman Buildings are required to complete a Roommate Agreement, facilitated by the Resident Assistants on each floor.
One of the best ways to help set some ground rules between you and your roommate is to have a Roommate Agreement. A Roommate Agreement is a document set in place to help establish rules like at what time do you agree to set aside for studying and how do you go about borrowing our roommate's belongings. It is imperative that when negotiating the Roommate Agreement that students be open and honest with what they expect and to refer to the above rights and responsibilities. For example, if you know that you need complete silence in order to study effectively, communicate that expectation at the beginning.
Roommate Bill of Rights and Responsibilties
We believe that all residential students have some basic rights when it comes to their living environment. While each student's living preferences vary to different degrees, we believe that each student has the right to the following:
- 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 study free from undue interface 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. Residence Hall Directors (RHDs), Graduate Assistants (GAs), and RAs are available for assisting in settling roommate conflicts.
- The right to be free from fear of intimidation, physical, and emotional harm.
- The right to expect reasonable cooperation in the use of the "room shared" items (telephone, refrigerator, bathroom, sink, television, etc.).
To this end, we also believe that there are certain responsibilities that each student must adhere to in order to maintain a positive and successful living environment.
- To respect one another's privacy
- To respect themselves and others
- To communicate openly with their roommate and discuss potential conflicts before they get out of hand
- To keep their living space neat and clean
- To lock doors and maintain personal/possession safety
- To maintain a comfortable environment for sleep and study purposes
- To treat one another's possessions with care and ask before borrowing personal items
- To respect differences
- To compromise
- To enlist the help of residence hall staff when a difficult roommate issue arises
- To be kind and civil with no intent to harm
- To check with one another before having guests
- To pass on messages to their roommate in a timely manner
- To abide by all OHRL rules and regulations