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My Room and Me

My Room and Me

Room Decorations and Postings

Posters, pictures, and knick-knacks can make a resident feel more at home. Decorations are encouraged as long as they do not create health or fire hazards or damage to the room. Traffic and street signs are not permitted in the residence halls.

Decorations should be a credit to the room and to the University. Giving the room a personal touch is expected; discretion, however, should be used to protect the rights of all residents. Anything visible through the window or on the door should be in good taste. Pictures and other materials that may be considered objectionable are not to be displayed in areas that may be visible outside the student's room. All pictures and posters displayed on room doors are subject to Student Senate, RHA and Residential Life Posting policies.
Displays of alcoholic beverage container(s) or sign(s) are not allowed in the residence halls. All empty soda cans should be recycled after use. Can collections are not permitted.

Signing Up For a Room

We hope you enjoy the year at Northwest and the time you spend in the residence halls. It is never too early to begin planning ahead for next year! Typically our "re-sign" process is done middle to late February. A few weeks prior to the sign-up period you will be sent specific information of when you can choose your room preference for next year.

Sign-up times are based upon seniority. The date we received your original deposit is the date that is used to determine your priority. At the time of sign-up you will encouraged to select your roommate and specific room.


At Northwest, we pride ourselves on having a campus that is friendly and compact. These are both strengths in terms of having a safe campus. However, safety at Northwest is no accident - nor should it be taken for granted. A pleasant and safe atmosphere is a goal for Residential Life. All community members including students play a critical role in ensuring their own safety, as well as the safety of others.

Residents are issued keys to their respective rooms when they move in. If a room key is reported lost, the room door is re-keyed and new keys are issued. Exterior doors are locked by 10 PM each night, after which residents must use their key fob to gain entrance at doors with fob readers. Unescorted guests must use the phone at the main entrance to call a resident to gain entrance after the doors are locked.

Play It Safe (Personal Safety Tips)

Your Northwest Missouri State University residence hall room will be "HOME" for a while. Keep it safe for your self and others by knowing and following these facts:

  • Lock your door. Every year theft occurs when students leave their rooms unlocked and unattended during the day and/or night, for as few as 1 or 2 minutes. Money, jewelry, ID card, credit cards, etc. should be kept out of sight. Whenever you leave your room, lock the door and take your keys with you. Many times students return from the bathroom to find items missing from their rooms. Always lock your door at night before you go to sleep.
  • Be careful with high temperature small appliances like irons and curling irons. Unplug them immediately after use and let them cool before you put them away.
  • Avoid overloading circuits by plugging too many items into one outlet or using adapters on original outlets. We suggest using power strips with a built in circuit breaker.
  • Be careful when carrying a large amount of cash. Never let anyone know you have the cash - word travels fast. Never leave the cash lying in your room.
  • Avoid using candles, open flame and open coil devices in the residence halls.
  • Never store flammable or combustible liquids or materials in your room.
  • Remember to keep books, magazines and other papers away from heaters.
  • Rid your room of waste and trash. Empty your wastebaskets often.

Break Housing

The Residential Life Agreement does not include housing when the residence halls are closed for vacation periods and between semesters or during vacation periods that are subsequently declared by the University. Students who require housing during breaks need to make arrangements through the Residential Life Office two weeks prior to break. Late notification will result in a $10 administrative fee. It should be recognized that accommodations and services will be limited during this time and that an additional room charge will be assessed (prorated nightly contract rate).

Living With Roommates

Roommate Bill of Rights

This is a list of rights afforded roommates. This should be a guiding light during the process of the current relationship with your roommate. Look this list over, apply it to your roommate relationship, and work toward fulfilling all rights completely throughout the process.

  1. The right to read and study without interference, unreasonable noise and other distractions.
  2. The right to sleep without undue disturbances.
  3. The right to have personal privacy in one's own room.
  4. The right to live in a clean environment.
  5. The right to host guests with the understanding that the guests will honor the other resident's rights.
  6. The right to have free access to one's room and hall facilities.
  7. The right to be free from intimidation and physical and emotional harm.
  8. The right to air grievances; the residence hall staff may be helpful in assisting and settling conflicts.
  9. The right to expect respect for one's belongings and personal property.
  10. The right to expect that these privileges will be respected and accept the responsibility to respect these privileges for others.

Resolving Conflicts

Should you and your roommate(s) sit down and get acquainted, or should you complete a roommate contract with the assistance of your Resident/Student Assistant? The following information will help you decide.

  • Negotiation: Have you just met and are beginning to learn a little bit about each other? How about negotiation, or voluntary problem solving and/or bargaining? Your negotiation is carried out directly by all roommates involved in order to reach a joint agreement on a variety of concerns.
  • Conciliation: Voluntary negotiation with the help of a neutral third party (get your RA), who serves to bring the parties together to talk or who carries information between two parties.
  • Mediation: Voluntary participation in a structured process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in identifying and satisfying their interests relative to the conflict. Sound complicated? Simply speaking: Your RA/SA will help you to complete a roommate contract.
  • Arbitration: Wow! You are NOT getting along! Arbitration involves voluntary or required participation in a process of explaining, presenting, and justifying needs, interests, and/or positions, which results in a binding or advisory statement determined by your Residence Hall Director.


As a college student living in a residence hall, you may be living with one or more roommates. Your classmates may be strangers at first. The workload is heavier and the competition tougher. As roommates, you may share friends, classes, music, and trust. At times however, the things you share may create stress between you. Some other stressful situations you may experience include:

  • Leaving home: Separation from your family and friends is difficult for most. While it may lead to newfound values and freedom, it still equates stress.
  • Managing finances: Chances are, you'll have to budget your money carefully. A financial difference between roommates can leads to hidden jealousy, theft, and distrust. Money is personal, and money is private.
  • Having values tested: When you encounter someone who has opinions that differ from yours on subjects such as drinking, drugs, sex, and religion, you take it more personally than nearly anything else. The world is full of people different than you, and a college campus is not an exception.
  • Handling personal problems: Conflicts will arise between you and a parent, professor, peer, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling. It's inevitable. And when it happens, it will require your full emotion and create enormous stress in your life.
  • Living with a roommate: If you live with a roommate, you should show your roommate the same kind of consideration that you'd like to receive. Anything else would be selfish and inconsiderate -- and lead to stress between you.

Communication With Your Roommate

Become more effective in communicating your thoughts and feelings to get the response that you want. Learn how to express your feelings, present yourself well, give and receive complaints gracefully, say "No" when appropriate, and resolve problems effectively. Help others to get to know you better so they will know what to expect from you. Get to know others because they'll offer information about themselves in return. Learn good listening skills to avoid misunderstandings, here are some tips: Give your undivided attention to the roommate. Show that you are interested in what's being said. Don't rush, interrupt, or finish sentences for the roommate. Ask questions if you need more information. Don't forget to keep in mind the listener's background, knowledge, feelings, and what your point will mean to him or her.

Solving Your Problem

Find a good time and place to talk: Choose a time when all parties are calm and ready to talk. Choose a meeting place that is quiet and private.

Identify the problem or issue: Let each person state what happened or the existing problem. Focus on the problem, not the personalities. Use active listening skills and "I" messages. Avoid communication blockers.

Brainstorm for solutions: Let each person suggest ways to solve the problem or address the issue. Listen to each other without judging. Be willing to compromise.

Choose a solution and agree on it: Consider all the options, evaluate pros and cons. Decide on one option that everyone can agree on.

Employ a strategy of win-win to resolve conflicts. Help to ensure that each person's personal integrity is maintained. It is never acceptable for one person to feel debased or humiliated. Get conflicts into the open. Defensiveness, put-downs, judgmental reactions, gamesmanship, manipulation, discounting, aggressive attacks, and similar types of behavior are counterproductive in the process. Don't escalate conflicts by involving people not needed. When too many people are involved, people become concerned with maintaining loyalties and saving face.

Tips On Responding to a Problem

  • Be specific in your agreement or disagreement -- not general.
  • Be descriptive and logical, not emotional.
  • Be tactful by trying to say something positive, even if you disagree.
  • Address the problem. Don't bring up other conflicts or past hostilities. Confront the issue -- not the person. Describe your feelings and your views objectively, while defining the problem and analyzing how it developed.
  • Generate possible solutions, sit down together and try to list as many possible solutions as you can. Don't be afraid to include some silly ones; they'll break the tension. The more ideas you come up with, the more you'll have to choose from and the better the choice you'll be able to make.
  • Evaluate the possible solutions to try and find one that meets each person's needs, goals and views, given the time and resources available.
  • Decide on a solution. It will involve some compromise for all parties. But realize that compromise doesn't mean you lose!
  • Put the solution into action. Make a plan for using your solution and follow-up to see how it's working. Establish short-range goals to help check your progress.

What If It Still Doesn't Work?

If you have sincerely tried all of the steps in this book and have talked with your Resident Assistant and Hall Director, there are alternatives.

During the second week of classes each semester, there is a "FREE" room change period. This period will last for 2-3 days and you must watch your hall carefully for postings that will describe the process and tell you exactly what you need to do. Please refer to the Residence Hall or Apartment Handbook, as appropriate, for complete details on room changes.

During this time, students may change for any reason and no charge is assessed for the transfer of voice mail. After this period, any room changes that are approved will be assessed a telecommunications fee (check your Res Life Handbook for the current amount). All room changes are subject to space availability.

It will be up to you, with the help of the hall staff, to seek out what you feel to be a more comfortable living situation for yourself. Your Hall Director can provide you with a list of available spaces and the name of the current residents. It will be up to you to contact the individuals and assess how compatible you feel you will be.

We will strive to encourage you to work through differences with the help of hall staff rather than approve an immediate room change (except during the free room change period). It is part of the college experience to learn to accept differences in others, mediate conflict, and reach compromise.

You are not alone in this effort, but it will take patience and effort on your part. If you are able to work through any conflicts and learn to live and learn together, the results will be immeasurable as you prepare to enter a workforce rich with cultural, economic, and personal differences. We're here to help!