Take Advantage of Residence Life

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 detriments. 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.

Fire Regulations

Due to recent events across the country where fires have ravaged student off-campus housing, there is a clear need for consistently enforced safety regulations.  If a fire destroys your belongings it is devastating, but when it erases months or years of work, that can be crippling.  On Febuary 22, a fire took place off of the Boston University campus nearly cost a group of students their lives.  All escaped, but to do so people had to jump out of windows and relinquish their property.  A sensible and necessary regulation would be to require all apartments, at least off-campus, to have portable fire safety ladders.  BU is one of the universities already on-track to solid safety regulations.  They had equipped the building that caught fire with alarms before the fire happened, luckily.  Also, the university requires students’ cell phone numbers in case of a campus emergency, in which case a mass-text is sent to students so they can be aware and modify plans.  The key to success in safety is simplicity—students react well to familiar modes of communication and benefit from functioning and efficient safety regulations.


Many colleges are not responsible in any way for the loss of or damage to a student’s personal property. Residents living on-campus are many times advised to check 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 dissuade people from using this service for items brought along to college. Considering renters insurance may help to protect students against losses and damage to personal property.

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.