Archive Page 2

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.


Changes to First Year Applications ends on June 1st

In the last week we’ve had several hundred contacts from students who wanted to change something in the application they submitted.  Most often it’s been for a new roommate choice.  Some of the requests have also been for things like “I wanted to choose ________ complex”.  The selection of a complex is not one of the options.

After the June 1st deadline, we can no longer make those kind of changes so that we can begin working on making assignments.

Get your applications completed and in if you haven’t already.


Advice from Alums and Older Siblings

If you are lucky enough to have older siblings or parents who attended UVa, please listen to them and follow the advice they give you.  You also need to make your own independent assessment of how things work when you arrive.

Student Life at UVa is constantly evolving and that is particularly true in Housing and Residence Life.  We often receive questions or requests that are based on information that is no longer applicable.

The most common requests we hear involve being in a particular complex.  That’s no longer a choice that we offer you.  Please don’t call and ask to be made an exception to the process that is in place now.  The University wants to insure that the FY class is randomly distributed so that you are not living with people who are only just like you.

Old stereotypes of who lives in each complex are no longer accurate or appropriate.  Once you move in and make some friends, where ever you are assigned will become the best place to live.

We also get many calls based on location – and distance to class.  It’s a little hard for me to believe that people want to believe that having a 5 minute longer walk 2x/day will change anything in the kind of activities you can participate in, or create a special hardship for anyone who does not have medical needs.  A good percentage of students take the bus to class — it’s the same bus line that goes by all of the first year areas..  If you don’t want to walk, you don’t have to.

Everyone has their own unique first year experience….

Roommate Requests -Change for this year

For the first year this year, we will not be able to guarantee that we can honor all roommate requests.  We will still do our best to keep all roommate pairs together, if they are submitted by the June 1st initial deadline.

The reason for the change is due to the number of facebook roommate pairs.  In the past, it was typical to have 25% of the class request roommates.  Last year that percentage was up to 50% of the class.  We were able to almost honor every request last year, but we can’t predict what will happen this year and we don’t want to promise something that we can’t deliver on.

Take care,


First Year Housing Assignment Options and Process

If you look at the information on the Housing and Residence Life web page, you will see that there are several housing complexes that are exclusively for first year students:  Alderman Road, McCormick Road and Gooch-Dillard.  This is where most of you will be living next year.  Within these three complexes, the assignment process is random.  There is no first-come, first-served element to the process.  You cannot select which of these complexes you want to live in.  You are able to request a roommate and you can select whether you are interested in a double room or a single room.  If you select that you want a single room, you should know that there are a small number of “stairwell” single rooms in the McCormick Road complex, but almost all of the first year rooms available to you are in the Gooch-Dillard Complex.  This complex was constructed primarly with 6 single rooms in a suite with a common bathroom and a lounge.

In addition, as a first year student, you are also offered the choice to apply to live in one of three Residential College programs. Each of these programs are in complexes where 20% of the students are first year students and the rest of the community is made up of upperclass students.  Each of the three communities, Brown College, Hereford College and the International Residential College, have a focus that has been selected by the students living in the program.  Brown College focuses on creativity,  Hereford College focuses on sustainability and the International Residential College focuses on International Issues.  I’ll give you more information about the structure of the Residential Colleges in another posting.  Please also look at the photos and information available on the web page.


We hope you'll find helpful information on the Housing application and assignment process. Send us questions at and we'll answer them here.