Archive for the 'General' Category

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.


Fall Opening

The Summer is almost over…  Opening is just around the corner now.  For the class of 2015, Opening day at UVa this year will either be on Friday, August 19, or Saturday, August 20.  In case you can’t remember which date goes with your room assignment, the following is the overall list of when the first year buildings open:

Friday, August 19 ( 10am – 7pm): Courtenay, Fitzhugh, Kellogg, Watson-Webb, Woody, Gooch-Dillard 381-383 & 386-389

Saturday, August 20 (8am – 4pm): Balz-Dobie, Cauthen, Dunglison, Dunnington, Gooch-Dillard 384, 385, all of McCormick Road, The International Residential College, Brown College, Hereford College.

All other upperclass housing areas open on Saturday, August 20, 8am – 4pm.

Please call us if you are arriving later than the 20th so that we will know that you are still joining us.

Please go to the Housing Division Web Site at for more detailed information about the Opening and check-in process and for any other questions you have related to housing.

Please remember than only you can pick up the keys to  your room – and you must present a photo ID when you present yourself to the staff.

I’m really hoping that it won’t be as hot for Opening as it has been here this week.  Enjoy the rest of your summer.

A Post for the UVa Parents Organization

For those of you that are parents of students, I would like to strongly push you to make contact with the Parent’s Organization.  It is a very active group here that provides a lot of support for students throughout the year.   The Safety Committee of the Parents Organization is currently updating the “Off Grounds Housing Safety Guide”.  That booklet has been available this past year and is intended as a resource to help you understand the leasing environment in the local community.  The updated version will contain some additional information about on Grounds Housing.  The chief issue that it is trying to raise awareness of is that the process of having students sign leases for the following year begins on or before October 1st… in the off Grounds market.   With all of the other information you receive during the course of the summer, this often catches both students and parent by surprise.   The University administration moved the dates of the on Grounds process forward so that 1st year students are asked to apply by December 1st so that our process is a little closer in timing to the off Grounds process. 

I will focus a lot more on this topic after the end of the summer.

The Parents Organization contact information is:  434-243-9000,, .  Offices are located in Alumni Hall.

Graduation Housing

If you are graduating, you should have received information from the Conference Services Office of the Housing Division.  Having your family members stay in on-Grounds housing for graduation is an affordable alternative to the premium priced, 3 day minimum charged at most local hotels -if space is even available.  Please go to the Conference Services web site  at for information.

Closing Information

The end of the Spring Semester is almost here…. It will be here before you know it.  If you don’t take a few minutes to plan your departure, it will catch you by surprise.  Life is busy with paper, projects and all of the end of year things that are made possible by the nicer weather.  We always end up with a couple of students who haven’t made any plans for leaving…  We also end up with students who just don’t want to leave… 

All of the information related to closing (which is on Saturday, May 14, at 12:00 noon)is now posted on the Housing Division web page.  Please take a few minutes to review it.  Your RA will be contacting you about closing meetings that they will all be scheduling.  Please attend.  Invest in being on top of things so that you won’t suffer any undue stress unnecessarily.  

Closing is simple —-  Plan how you will get home so that you can leave when you are finished with your finals….  Make travel arrangements now, if you haven’t already.  If you are from not too far away – plan a quick trip home to take a load of stuff.  Somehow your things will have multiplied since the beginning of the year and the vehicle you packed to come last August may not hold everything you have now.  Plan to clean your room/apartment before you leave.  If there has been damage, have everyone in your room/suite/apartment complete the on-line damage form to have the appropriate people accept responsibility.  Get a key envelope from your RA and make sure to turn in your keys when you leave.

If you are graduating or have to stay beyond closing, look at the LATE STAY section of the web page.  It details who is eligible to be considered.  I won’t list that information here…  Please look closely at this information.  We have many facilities that will not be available for late stays due to renovation projects and demolitions this summer….  Parts of Lambeth, Gooch/Dillard and buildings in  Alderman Road will not be available..  If you are making beach week plans before graduation, it’s important to note what the options are for where you live… and make plans that include those limitations…

To be able to be considered to stay beyond closing, you must go to the Late Stay application on-line and submit your reason/need.  Please do not apply if you don’t meet the criteria.  We occasionally get students who want to stay based on personal convenience…  If your summer sublet or lease doesn’t start until later, we can’t help you with that.  If you have a job that you want to sign up for extra shifts to earn more money before you leave town, we also  can’t extend your stay for that.  As University housing, we can only provide housing during the term of your enrollment and the exceptions we can make for graduation related activities are clearly defined and limited.

It’s supposed to be over 80 degrees today – enjoy the weather, but don’t let it distract you from everything else.

Keeping in Touch with your Parents

Managing your communication with your parents is important.  While I hope that you are learning to be more independent and make your own.  I hope that as you move down that road, you can give your parents enough information so that they can be comfortable with what you are doing. 

I think that students many times go to one extreme or the other, and so do parents (and their expectations).  Over the years I hear all kinds of stories, from the parent (true story) who drove the roommate nuts because they called every morning to make sure their child gets up for class and called every night until they catch up with him/her to make sure they’re going to bed at a reasonable hour, to students who call a parent at least twice an hour.

As a parent, when my oldest son went to college, he had some struggles and to me it felt like the consequences of him screwing up were suddenly much larger – that they could have lifelong kind of implications if his academic career tanked.  It was much harder for me to deal with than any previous stage in his life. 

Please find a general kind of schedule to contact your parents so that they don’t feel like they’re begging you for information about your life.  If you keep them comfortable that you are in control, it will make everything easier for you in your relationship with them.  Don’t lie to them… if you are having difficulty, let them know that and talk with them… or find someone here that you can talk to that can help you -and let your parents know that you are taking action on whatever the issue is. 

Keep your parents in the loop…….. If you want them to treat you as an adult, you need to show them that you are making the right kind of decisions and have the skills you need, so that they don’t have to worry about everything you’re doing.  That is something that you have to earn from them — don’t expect them to quit being concerned if you are making bad choices and just want to demand that they trust you.

Hopefully, as you change this year, your parents will feel and see it in how you act and in how you relate to them.  If you don’t let them know how you’re changing, you can’t expect them to understand and accept it.

Cell Phone Coverage

ITC has just created a new web page that allows students to report cell phone coverage problems for people using AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon/Alltel services.  This web page is accessible at

Clicking on the information for students leads to a web page showing the residence halls with in-building coverage that ITC installed.  At the bottom of this page is a link to a form to report problems or ask questions.

Alcohol – it’s not what all the other students are doing!

If to you it seems that all the students you know are choosing to drink and you don’t seem to know anyone that isn’t spending their time at parties and drinking, then maybe you need to stop, take a deep breath and look a little harder.  By self-reported survey data, approximately 35% of students here don’t drink -at all.  I haven’t looked up all of the stat’s today, but the vast majority of students attending the University, don’t drink to excess. 

The pattern I see in the data also shows that at least in on Grounds housing, the number of students that are heavy drinkers goes down significantly after the first year….  My guess is that #1 they are no longer enrolled at the University. #2 is that they moved off Grounds.

Please think hard about how you use alcohol -if you choose to.  Don’t make choices that are going to make it impossible -or much harder, for you to be successful here.  Don’t passively let others drag you down with them..  I know that you’ve had practice with these same dynamics in high school. 

You can choose not to drink, or not to get drunk -and you won’t be alone.  Most students do not engage in binge drinking.  Almost all of the bad things that seem to happen to students, happens when they have had too much to drink.  Bad things that can have long term consequences…  Even things as simple as ignoring personal safety by walking home alone while impaired can lead you into issues you’d rather avoid.

If you feel stress or start having problems, talk to someone… don’t let your semester get away from you.

We do want you to be here for your graduation….. and a good life after you leave.


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