Take Advantage of Residence Life

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Students discuss U.S./New Zealand Relations

‘Residence Life’ is an integral department in every College or University, responsible for all things related to living on campus. The goal for individuals working in these departments is to make sure that you have a positive experience while attaining higher education.  Many students overlook a variety of opportunities and events that their resident life department has to offer, as they can go under the radar by those who aren’t constantly seeking them out.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to address 5 areas to look for in your college’s Residence Life Department.

Internet Access in On-Campus Rooms

First and foremost, residence life provides the on-campus student with a room that comes with a set of standard furniture for each student. Students are responsible for any furniture lost or damaged over the course of the year, which is why they ask for a safety deposit before you even move in. In today’s age, just about every college has wireless internet, although in case the wireless goes down, it is a good idea to check to see if your school has individual Internet ports to accommodate every resident of the room.  The more connected a student is with their environment and the resources it has to offer, the more confident they can become as a student.

Off-campus Living

Many people believe that residence life doesn’t have much to offer students who live off campus. In actuality, many universities offer services to aid students in their transition from living on campus to renting their first apartment. For example, at Emerson College, students are provided with information to help get in contact with moving and storage providers, realtors, and places to stay while searching for housing.  Emerson also provides safety checklists, including a section on fire safety, and renter information for potential apartments. Additionally, commuting students would be wise to invest in semester passes or subsidized monthly passes through the university.


Resident Assistants often times act as a general source of support for the residents and can be your first contact for your concerns. If you find you need additional emotional support, colleges offer students counseling services to hash out personal detriment. The counseling center can help ground you and act as a mentor/accessible person to gain advice from. Student counseling is usually separated from high-trafficked areas to try to ensure anonymity and create a trusting and secure environment. Counseling can be very expensive outside of the higher education establishment. On-campus counseling has a reduced cost and may have greater insight into the trials of a college student, with benefits both financially and emotionally.

Risk of Fire 

Every year, campus fires cause real damages.  In fact, in 2015 nearly 2,000 firest were reported in on-campus student housing through mandated reporting by colleges and universities through the Clery Act.  Safety regulations have improved greatly but students must be alert and follow the rules including not to smoke in your room, cook or light candles.  If a fire destroys your belongings it is devastating, but when it erases months or years of work, that can be crippling.   The key to success in safety is simplicity—students react well to familiar modes of communication and benefit from functioning and efficient safety regulations.

Renters Insurance

Students are smart to realize that your property is your responsibility.  If your property is damaged by a fire or stolen, most colleges are not responsible in any way for the loss of or damage. Residents living on-campus are many times advised checking for possible coverage of personal belongings and other items under their parents’/guardians’ homeowners’ or renters’ existing insurance. The problem that constantly occurs is that many homeowners’ insurance policies may have policy limitations or high-deductibles that make them impractical.  For about fifty cents a day, purchasing a low-deductible renters insurance policy is a for most college students a smart decision.

Need assistance finding what your residence life department has to offer? Most colleges and universities will send out newsletters informing students about opportunities on campus through e-mail, so make sure to look out for them in your inbox. If you can’t seem to find any written information online – try to hunt down a Resident Assistant or walk into your college’s housing and residence life department and ask what your college can offer you.