Phone: (203) 932-7076
Fax: (203) 932-7178
Location: 1st Floor Bixler Hall
If you dropped your son or daughter off in front of Bethel, Bixler, Botwinik, or Bergami Hall only a few short weeks ago to start their college adventure, there's a chance your child has called you to tell you about their roommates. If we're lucky, the three of them are all compatible roommates well on their way to building strong foundations for a friendship. It's also very likely that the three young men or women in the room are now facing an adjustment period. For others, the honeymoon is over and they want out! Have no fear---we are here to help in The Office of Residential Life!
As a college freshman, your child is now making many adjustments. Not only is your son or daughter faced with choosing what, when, and where to eat on their own (maybe even choosing to eat dessert first!) and when or for how long they want to sleep (or not sleep. Or oversleep.), your freshman also has to deal with finding their way around campus, getting to know their professors, and of course... getting used to living with people they aren't related to, probably for the first time.
The most common roommate conflicts that occur in our freshmen suites have to do with disagreeing on when or how much to clean, sleep, study, or have visitors. The key to solving these issues is COMPROMISE. With a little compromise on everyone's part, these issues can quickly become non-issues. It is important for new roommates to communicate openly and honestly (and not on Facebook or Instant Messenger, but rather in person!), and remember that they are all adjusting to their living situation. The more they are able to adjust together, the more they will enjoy living together.
The University of New Haven prides itself on providing an "Experiential Education" for all its students. In the Office of Residential Life, our mission is to supplement that experiential education in the classroom by providing residential students with real-life opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom. So how can you as a parent help your freshman deal with roommate conflicts? Allow this to be part of your child's education. If your freshman calls you with a concern about a roommate, be patient, listen, and be supportive. Your role is then to let your son or daughter decide what actions to take or what conversations to initiate.
There are many resources available on campus. Each floor in every residence hall has a Resident Assistant who is trained in roommate conflict mediation and puts together social and educational programs to help foster healthy adjustments to living on campus. The Resident Director is also a great resource to assist with the next step in mediation or drafting a Roommate Agreement or Cleaning Agreement. In addition, the Counseling Center is also available for students who might want to explore a little deeper, and there are numerous student clubs and organizations for those who want to get involved. Remind your freshman that these resources exist... and take comfort in knowing that they do! Again, let your freshman decide what he/she wants to do about any problems that may arise, and remember that every step along the way is part of the "experience."