Living with Others

Living with a roommate

The transition process will be much smoother if you and your roommate(s) discuss boundaries and logistics up front. Your Resident Adviser will provide you and your roommate with a Roommate Agreement to help you start off on a good foot; they will keep it for reference, in the event a conflict arises. The questions you will be asked on the Roommate Agreement are:

The roommate relationship

What are your expectations of your roommate(s) with respect to your relationship? Do you want to be the best of friends or simply people who live together well? Keep in mind that it is natural for good friendships to develop between students who may not be roommates, and some people come to college with previously-formed friendships.

Problem solving

Do you agree to communicate with each other when there is a problem? How?


How often? How many? Use of the room and posses­sions? Advance warning? Significant other? The Residence Hall System Agreement states that you cannot have guests for more than three consecutive nights or a total of seven days in an academic year, and guests must be escorted by their host at all times while in the residential areas of the building.

Safety concerns

How will you ensure each other’s safety and the safety of your property? (Locking the door, notifying each other if staying out late or not returning to the room, etc.)

Sleeping/waking arrangements

Light/heavy sleeper? Early/late night? Early/late morning?

Study habits

When? Where? Visitors in room/cluster/apartment? Quiet?

Cleaning the room and/or cluster

How often? What areas? Who does the cleaning?

Phone use

Phone use hours? (For instance, asking people not to call after a set time to accommodate sleep schedules.)

Tip: Honesty is the best policy. Trying to be too nice could lead to bigger issues later.

As you are thinking about these questions, keep in mind these roommate etiquette tips:

Be considerate. Expect consideration in return.

Be flexible. How you think about something may change. Expect contradictions, and be flexible with yourself and others.

Be respectful. Don’t assume or expect that your roommate(s) and neighbors will view things as you do. Work to understand differ­ences in attitudes and in people.

Cooperate with others. Compromise. Living with other people challenges you to find ways in which all involved can be win­ners, but this does not mean you have to be less than satisfied.

Experiment. Along with your academic endeavors, living with someone is an educa­tional experience. Experimenting will mean trying new approaches and testing ideas.

Be independent. Being a good roommate does not mean agreeing with everything your roommate(s) suggests; on the other hand, it doesn’t mean being disagreeable or getting your own way all the time. With experience and practice, you’ll learn to find a balance. Independence also means devel­oping outside interests and friendships.

Be aware of rights and responsibilities. In exercising your individual rights, do not exceed responsible boundaries or infringe on the rights of your roommate(s) or others in the residence halls.

Living in a community

Living on campus offers you a unique and exciting opportunity to learn about people and their cultures and lifestyles. Share your experiences with others; there are few times in our lives when we have the chance to live closely with so many different people.

A note on difference

The UW and the city of Seattle are places of great diversity. Each person is unique, from a particular place in the broad spectrum of society. Strive to understand the individual characteristics of those around you, especially your roommate(s). As you engage in daily activities and interactions, challenge yourself to learn from others. Give to others the respect and tolerance that you desire. Remember that while each of us has the right to our own beliefs, these beliefs in no way give anyone the right to denigrate others on the basis of national origin, gender, race, religious affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, gender expression or age.

Good communication

Good communication is the basis for positive relationships, especially with people who live in the same room or community. Talking with your roommate(s) about your communication hab­its will help you develop and sustain a good relationship. Talk about your expectations of one another right away. It is important that you agree on how you will live together. Don’t wait until conflict arises to begin talking about how you want to share the room.

Ask for assistance

If you need help solving a problem involv­ing your roommate(s), neighbors or clustermates, you can talk to your Resident Adviser or Resident Director. They will assist you in finding a solution on your own or, if necessary, will intervene when a situation cannot be resolved by dialogue and communication.

Privacy and safety

Resident safety is one of the UW’s highest priorities. Our safety policy was developed in conjunction with UW regulations and Washington state statutes regarding student privacy. HFS will not, under any circumstances, release room numbers or telephone numbers to any unauthorized person including friends, rela­tives and parents. Although this policy may seem inconvenient at times, it provides residents protection and a secure living environment within the UW. We encour­age students to make sure their families and friends have their address, as well as room and telephone numbers.