New Building Names/Changes in the Alerman Road Complex

There are three new buildings in the Alderman Road Complex that will open for the Fall, 2013 Semester:  The names of the new buildings are: Lile-Maupin, Tuttle-Dunnington & Shannon House.

In May, 2013, work will begin on the next new building in the complex.  To create the space needed, Dunnington House will be demolished (removing the potential overlapping of hall names).That building is scheduled to be completed by Fall, 2015.

Dunnington’s Last Semester

If you lived in Dunnington Hall as a first year, time is running out for you to take a last nostalgic look at the building. In May, 2013, the demolition of the building will begin. By Fall, work will begin on the next of the new Alderman Road Complex buildings. Dunnington has been a good home for many students over the course of its lifetime….. It will be missed.

On Grounds Housing is Still Available!

If your original plans have changed and you still need a place to live next year, or if you are still in the process of deciding what will best fit your needs, we still have room for you in on Grounds Housing. At this point in the process, the next application deadline is 5pm on March 5th. Anyone who wants to stay or move back on Grounds is able to apply. We have space in all housing complexes for either individuals or roommate pairs.

Let us help you. The staff in the Accommodations Office would welcome your call or e-mail. We would be happy to help you talk through your options.

Roommate Relationships

It’s midterm time now and the honeymoon period for the relationship between roommate pairs is over…. LIfe gets more serious now and the little differences between roommates become harder to ignore…….  If your relationship hasn’t already caused you and your roommate to have a serious talk about any issues, you should probably sit down and reassess how things are going for each of you.   One theory about the stages of group development categorizes the stages each has to go through before they can become a high performing team as: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing……   Forming was when you met up and moved in together, Storming is next – and it’s where the group learns to address and work through conflicts.  If the conflicts in a group (you and your roommate are a group of 2) aren’t addressed, then you will stay in this stage.

It’s hard to confront things that may seem silly, but when you live in such close quarters, the little things add up and can become a big deal.  If you have a list in your head of all the things your roommate has “done” to you, or a list of their ideosycracies that annoy you, it’s time for a talk – You can also be sure that your roommate has the same “lists” for what they would like to change about you.

Most people are reasonable.  If you don’t give them the chance to change by even letting them know that you are upset, then the issue is yours.  Moving on to become a team that can develop a healthy level of mutual respect is far better than living with daily issues that distract and upset you.

Please do yourself a favor and have a discussion.  Don’t whip out your list and attack, demanding that everything be perfect for you.  Ask your roommate how things could be improved when you are both at home – review or create a real rooommate agreement, now that it’s not just an exercise…  Get advice from your RA on how to ask questions and on how to create a welcoming environment that will encourage some open and honest sharing.

Take responsibility for making it a healthy and productive relationship.

A lease is a lease…..

It’s the time of year when students are beginning to pound the pavement and work their parents about the need to sign a lease for an off-grounds apartment.  The one clear thing that everyone needs to understand before they sign a lease with anyone is that it is a legal commitment/contract.Whether you remain on Grounds, as we hope you will, or choose to move off Grounds,please know that once you sign a lease it’s time for you to quit looking at other options and choices…… you have decided and committed.  A lease is not like a hotel reservation…. you don’t get to change it because something else comes along that looks good —- or a different group that you’ve decided you like more suddently has room for you in a different apartment.

We have had too many instances where students have signed a first lease, and then a second. In one case that I know of, a student signed three leases. You can’t always do/get what you want, just because you want it.  Don’t sign a 2nd lease with anyone unless you are still planning to pay for the first….. A verbal commitment from another student who has expressed an interest in your space is not good enough for you to take that risk.

If you live on Grounds, you are automatically released if you transfer, leave school for any reason, or study abroad.  You can also change rooms any time you want.  It will also cost you about $3,000 less for a 9 month lease (only 12 month leases are available off Grounds).  Off Grounds, the contact is binding no mater what your student status is.  If you are in France for the fall you need to pay your rent or stiff your friends…  More about the advantages of living on Grounds in another post.

Please be clear – you can only sign one lease and all leases are binding legal commitments…  Don’t mess that up and put yourself or you parents in a position you can’t afford…..

There is a surplus of student apartment space in the Charlottesville Community – don’t rush into anything until you are sure that you know who you really want to live with… Wait until you know that  you are ready.

Call and talk to the staff in the Accommodations Office of Housing and Residence Life for any questions.   The off Grounds Housing Office is now a part of Accommodations, along with on Grounds Housing.  This is a change that was made this past summer.  924-3736 is our phone number.

Let us help you with your decision making process.

Finding Housing for Next Year

It is a shock to find that the process of signing leases for off grounds housing begins in Sepember/October.
The message that we want to make sure to communicate to everyone is that you do not have to feel pushed into doing anything that you aren’t ready for…… Don’t rush, it is a big decision, especially if you are a new first year student.

If you’ve decided that you are moving off-Grounds, please consider all of implications of that before you sign a lease and commit yourself to an apartment.  The local student rental market has a large surplus of space.  You can get an apartment any day of the year…

You are currently in the honeymoon phase with your new friends here……  Who you want to live with next year is a big decision.  It is likely that who you want to live with will change as you go through the year.  Once your sign a lease however, your process is over and your are locked into a 12 month lease.

Beginning next Monday, September 24, there are a series of meetings/presentations scheduled to discuss the merits of on Grounds Housing v. what it means to move off Grounds.  3 of these will be held in Alumni hall (with food provided by the Alumni Association).  Please look for the announcement and schedule of these events.

If you have individual questions or concerns, please call the Accommodations Office of Housing and Residence Life at 924-3736.  Our office now covers both on and off Grounds Housing.  For Off-Grounds housing specific questions, contact Vicki Hawes ( .  For On Grounds housing questions contact Kevin Wade (kw7ef).  If they are unavailable, you can also contact me, John Evans (jre9s).  We will be happy to discuss your individual issues and concerns.

Hitting the ground running -developing relationships

Your experience at the University will be primarily a result of the relationships that you create and develop.  Begin that process as soon as you arrive.  Meet your neighbors – everyone in the first year areas is new, so you should all have the same interest and energy for  getting to know each other.  Don’t sit on your bed and wait for others to come to you….  Meeting others and making friends will anchor your experience here.  Meet your RA first – they are a good person to guide you to others with similar interests and to give you advice on where you can become involved.

Your life and experience as a student will be enriched by the relationships you develop.  I hope that you are excited about who you will meet and looking to expand your horizons.

Opening Reminders

A few notes to consider as you finalize your plans:

The University is very serious about student safety.  The regulations in the Terms and Conditions of Housing are real and are enforced.  Some things we still have problems with occasionally include:  No extention cords are allowed – you can only use outlet strips…   Don’t bring anything that is a real or pretend weapons (no paintball guns or airsoft type guns)…  No cooking equipment with exposed heating elements -like Toasters, Toaster Ovens or hot plates…… stick with microwaves and coffee makers…..  Don’t bring fabric items to hang in the room – you are not allowed to install curtains or to hang flags on the walls……….

Expect traffic to be heavy once you are in Charlottesville…….. We are a relatively small town..  be patient and try to relax and enjoy the experience.  Be respectful of everyone.  Unload quickly (make the greeters do the work for you) and move your car to a parking lot away from the halls.  Don’t decorate the room before you move your vehicle……  If you go out to do more shopping in town, still park in the remote lot and carry it in from there.  Don’t re-enter the traffic around the halls and add to the congestion for others who are still working to unload.

Don’t feel that you need everything that you own at Opening.  Make your day less stressful.  If you’re from in-state, your parents can bring whatever else you discover you need later.  You really need and will use much less than you might think…  for most people.

Bring fans if you’re in an unairconditioned building…. unpack and plug them in first….

Get to know your RA.  They are upperclass students who know the University, and who are interested in helping you with anything you need. 


Opening Advice to Parents

Everyone’s circumstances are different, but in general, dropping off a child and returning home without them is a big change/step in life.  My 4th child will be going off to college next week, so I do understand what it can be like for parents.  (I still have one to go, so I’m not an empty nester yet.) 

Make a plan that to make this a positive experience for both you and your child.  Help your son or daughter get their belongings into the room and then plan your schedule and graceful exit around the schedule of activities that are set up to continue the orientation process.  Even if you don’t want the moment to come when you will part company, it has to happen.  It is important to let your son or daughter get involved in their new community so that they are meeting the other students and making new friends.  Let them start that process without making them choose between more time with you v. time getting to know other students.

I know that many of you have been shopping and making room decorating plans all summer.  Please make sure that your plans don’t involve running over the roommate and their family.  The decisions about the set up of the room have to be negotiated between the students, not between the parents. 

Negotiate a communication plan that your son or daughter can agree to.  Students lives get busy quickly and many forget that you are anxious for some reassurance that they are doing well.  At this point in time, I would say to learn to text if you haven’t already.  Many students don’t answer phone calls and don’t really listen to voicemail messages.  Texting is something that they can do quickly and simply without taking a time out from what they are involved in.  I hope that they will however, remember the need to call you and talk also.  It can be tough on all of us, but try not to make it a control mechanism that they will resent.  The ultimate goal is to get them to freely communicate with you.  You will have to start learning how to communicate with them as an adult, or differently than you might have when they were in high school, so that they will look forward to having conversations with you.

We hope that you are very proud of who your children are.  You’ve evidently done a great job raising them.  The student body here is a great group for them to be a member of.  Encourage them to be outgoing and actively look for opportunities to be involved.  There are over 700 student organizations that are looking for additional members.  If they can also find friends in their hall or suite that enjoy the same activities as they do, that will be another good anchor point for their life here.

One of the primary tasks that all students need to learn is to learn to speak for themselves and address issues.  Living in any community and/or with a roommate inevitably involves conflict of some kind.  Relationships can’t develop unless the parties involved are willing to honestly share their feelings and let others know when they are uncomforable.  All roommate conflicts have 2 sides.  In many cases, where parents choose to get involved, it seems that the son or daughter has not said a word or done anything to let the roommate know that there is an issue.  In almost all cases, if a student is willing to let someone know that they are uncomforable, the other person will respond positively.  Please encourage them to start handling those relationship issues themselves.  Their Resident Assistant is always available to them as a resource and support to help them.

We are looking forward to seeing you all again next week.


Semester Break Housing for December. 2012

One change for this next year that everyone needs to plan around is that we will not be to provide housing to any first year students for the first 2 weeks of the Semester Break in December-January.  The Halls close on Wednesday, December 19th.  For the safety of students, because we do not have staff in place and most services are shut down, we will not be able to provide housing until January 2nd, when the J Term Session begins.

For first year students who may not have other options, we have made an arrangement for students to rent rooms at the Cavalier Inn, at a reduced rate during that time period.

If you live in one of the Residential Colleges, you are in upperclass housing, which does not close during the break.



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