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Talking About Being a Good Roommate & Neighbor

Encouraging your student to maintain good roommate and neighbor relationships can enrich their life on campus as well as their academic work. 

Practice Tidy Habits 

Six students stand or sit on the steps of Founders Hall

The number one thing to keep in mind when your student is living with another person is tidiness. Keeping their side of the room neat and clean shows your student’s roommate that they are professional and motivated. A clean room also means that your student and their roommate are more likely to talk and become friendlier.

Encourage your student to proactively deal with messes in their dorm room, but if they find themselves constantly cleaning up after their roommate, suggest bringing up the issue with their RA. 

Show Empathy

Empathy and caring are great qualities to have, especially for students living with other students. Your student is going to be spending a lot of time with their roommate so showing that they care and respect them can really help not only with your students' image to their roommate but also to their neighbors and floormates as well. Keeping up a smile can go a long way but remember, respectful communication can mean different things to different people. Encourage your student to assume the best of those around them but speak to their RA if that respect isn't being reciprocated.

Keep Noise Down

Four students studying at a table in the library with books, papers and laptops open

Living in community means there will be varying levels of noise. Students are expected to be courteous to others with their noise during the day and if asked by another community member, should lower the volume or keep the noise down in their space. During the evening, quiet hours are enforced in the halls meaning that noise from a space should not be heard in the hallways or by the room next door. In the event of noise disturbance, residents are encouraged to talk to each other and ask for noise to be reduced or to contact the RA on Duty to assist with addressing the concern.

Set Guidelines for Guests

When the question of having guests over comes up between your student and their roommate(s), your student should always let those they live with know in advance about any upcoming guests. No one wants to be surprised with another person in the room at the end of a long day.

Your student will discuss handling guests with their roommate(s) when they fill out a roommate agreement during move-in, so those clear expectations can be revisited throughout the semester should issues arise.

Extend an Inclusive Hand

Four Widener students eating lunch in the Pride Cafe

Some students become best friends with their first-year roommate, and others would rather spend their time with friends made outside the dorm room. Remind your student that they don't have to be best friends with their roommate but that person could be a great start when it comes to making new friends.

Whatever the case is for your student, having them include their roommate(s) every now and then in activities that they or their friend group are planning is a great way to maintain a solid roommate relationship. 

What should I do as a parent when my student complains about their roommate? 

At some point, you may get a call from your student complaining about their roommate, no matter how well they may get along. If this happens, try to guide your student and prompt them to find solutions first by speaking with their RA. Your student's RA is there to mediate interpersonal conflict between roommates as a neutral third party and oftentimes, a meeting with an RA to review roommate agreements will ease tension between roommates.

If things really aren't working out, Widener has an open room change period at the beginning of the semester. During this period, students can request a room change through the housing portal for any reason pending availability. After the open room change period, your student will have a roommate mediation with their RA and Area Coordinator. A week after the mediation, your student will meet with their Area Coordinator again, if there are vacant spaces available and the area coordinator approves the request, the students may change rooms. For more information regarding room changes, please email

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