UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Living in the Halls

Roommate and Suitemate Relationships

 

You and Your Roommate/Suitemates

Living on campus provides you with the unique experience of learning more about yourself, how to live with others, and an opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills. Sharing a residence hall room is a new experience and transition for many students. When sharing a room, it does not matter if the person is your close friend or someone new to you. All roommate/suitemate relationships take cooperation in working to establish clear and reasonable expectations, discuss issues as they arise, and be open to compromise.

Cooperation is an understanding that you and your roommate/suitemates will work together towards a mutually satisfactory result and not a win-lose based outcome. Frequent, open, and honest communication is key, and if this is established early on, you will make the most of the good times and be better prepared to work through the more challenging moments. 

 

You 

A positive roommate/suitemate relationship starts with you. Spend time thinking about yourself. Here are a few questions you should give thought to:

  • What will I be like to live with?
  • What things help me feel safe in my own space?
  • How will I control my actions to help maintain a safe living environment?
  • What type of relationship am I hoping to have with my roommate/suitemates?
  • How will I make space for my roommate/suitemates and their needs?
  • What will I do to make my roommate/suitemates feel comfortable in our space?
  • How will I give my roommate/suitemates privacy when they need it?
  • How will I communicate things that bother me with my roommate/suitemates?
  • How would I like my roommate/suitemates to communicate with me the things that bother them about me?
  • How will I work to listen to my roommate/suitemates when they communicate with me?
  • How will I help maintain a clean living in environment?

 

Your Roommate

You may have different responses to the above questions than the person you are sharing a room with, and that is okay. People who are different and want different things can still have a successful roommate relationship. It is important to establish frequent communication at the beginning of the relationship, which will make it easier to check in regularly throughout the year as your roommate relationship grows. 

We strongly encourage filling out a Roommate Agreement Form with your roommate at the beginning of the school year to help establish and maintain a gratifying and collaborative living environment. To help in the development of this relationship, a Resident Assistant will meet with you and your roommate to discuss the standards you wish to establish for a cohesive living environment and create a Roommate Agreement. Prior to moving into the residence halls, review the Roommate Agreement Form to reflect and prepare for an effective meeting with your roommate and your Resident Assistant.

 

Your Suitemates (South Fork Suites only)

We strongly encourage filling out a Suitemate Agreement Form with your roommates at the beginning of the school year to discuss using any shared spaces. To help in the development of this relationship, a Resident Assistant will meet with you and your suitemates to discuss the standards you wish to establish for a cohesive living environment and create a Suitemate Agreement. Prior to moving into South Forks Suites, review the Suitemate Agreement Form to reflect and prepare for an effective meeting with your suitemates and your Resident Assistant.

 

Create a Healthy Roommate Relationship

It may take a few conversations for you and your new roommate to get to know each other. College is all about meeting new people. You may be surprised to discover what you have in common, as well as what you can learn from your new roommate. 

Prior to Coming to Campus

Reach out to your roommate/suitemates. When you receive your roommate/suitemate assignment, you can expect to receive their name(s) and student email address(es).

  • Send them an email to say hello and consider asking for their phone number if they have one. If possible, schedule a phone or video call. Sharing your voice over the phone is much more personal than a text or message over social media. Give your roommate/suitemates time to respond. They could be busy with work, are away for the summer, or are feeling a bit nervous about the first conversation.
  • Social media accounts are not always accurate reflections of who we are. Remember that you cannot believe everything you read online. The college experience challenges all students to open their minds to new people around them.
  • Think about what your roommate/suitemates will want to know about you. What would you like to know about them? Have a few “low-risk” questions ready for your first conversation to break the ice. Here are a few examples:
    • Why did you choose to come to UW-River Falls?
    • What are you hoping to study?
    • Tell me something I wouldn’t find out about you through Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.
    • What are you hoping to get involved with on campus?
    • Have you ever shared a room before?

 

While on Campus

Remember to be kind. In the beginning of the year students want to make a good first impression, often at the cost of their comfort. Check in with your roommate/suitemates periodically if you would like to borrow something, even if you may have already come to an agreement. Touching base with your roommate/suitemates regularly can provide opportunities to offer new perspectives and revisit expectations.

Keep a clean home. Your room or suite is now a new home to both you and your roommate/suitemates. Communicate with your roommate/suitemates about cleanliness and create an equal system of how to keep the space clean. Maintaining a clean-living environment is important to your health and mindset while navigating the collegiate experience.

Adequate sleep is vital to your physical health, emotional well-being, and academic success. Talk with your roommate/suitemates regarding when they plan to sleep as well as when you plan to sleep. Creating clear and reasonable expectations surrounding noise and lights while sleeping is important in showing your roommate that you respect them. Comfortable headphones can be helpful while trying to study in the room during quiet time.

 

If a Disagreement Occurs

Treat your roommate/suitemates with respect. It is reasonable to expect that you and your roommate/suitemates will sometimes disagree or be faced with a conflict. When issues arise, be open to starting tough conversations and listening to your roommate/suitemates, even if you disagree. Discuss the issue in a calm and understanding manner while working towards a compromise you all can agree on.

Communicate with your roommate/suitemates in person, not over texts or social media while residing together. In-person conversations will help decrease misunderstandings often found with online communication. After completing the Roommate or Suitemate Agreement, it is probable that it will need to be revisited throughout the year as you get into a routine.

Seek Assistance. Your Resident Assistant and Hall Director are here to help. Sometimes it is helpful to have another individual not connected to the situation to mediate. Residence Life staff are not there to choose sides or focus what was done. Their role is to help roommates and suitemates move forward in a positive direction. 


 

Contact Us

Department of Residence Life
reslife@uwrf.edu
715-425-4555
M-F, 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
B3 East Hathorn Hall
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