1. Stay on campus
Research shows that students who often go home on the weekend have a difficult time meeting people and adjusting to college life. Encourage your student to stay on campus for the first 4-6 weeks of the semester, even if they are homesick. There are different activities every day in the residence halls and apartments. The lobbies and Commons Building always have advertisements posted for events going on in the community or on campus. Students can always ask Resident Assistants (RAs) for more information.
2. Utilize the RAs and Community Directors
The Resident Assistants (RAs) and Community Directors are amazing resources who can assist your student with the college experience by sharing resources and offering support. RAs are student leaders who participate in intensive training to assist all residents in adapting to life in the SIUE community. Community Directors are master’s level staff who oversee a residence hall or a portion of Cougar Village. They are charged with creating an atmosphere that promotes academic success, personal development, respect for diversity, and a strong sense of community. The RA resides in your student’s building and the Community Director’s office is in the front office of the hall or in the Cougar Village Commons.
3. Set realistic expectations about roommates
Sometimes students are disappointed when they aren’t best friends with their roommate. Remind your student that casual, mutually respectful relationships can be much better in the long run than friendship. Encourage your student to establish “house rules” by creating a roommate agreement (contract) with their roommate(s) before experiencing any issues. The RA can assist with this process. Encourage your student to demonstrate common courtesy and empathy for their roommate(s); this is often the basis of a successful relationship. Encourage your student to talk to their roommate if they are having difficulty. That is the first step in addressing any conflict. Sometimes roommate situations become unbearable, even when students have tried to make it work; encourage your student to contact their RA or Community Director for assistance, before it spirals out of control.
4. Get involved
Area Councils and the Residence Housing Association (RHA) are two great organizations to help students get involved and connected. Area Councils sponsor events and activities for students who live in a specific community. RHA is a liaison between University Housing and the students who live on the SIUE campus. RHA is a great way for students to gain valuable leadership experience by joining the executive board or serving as a representative from the area in which they live. Outside of University Housing, encourage your student to attend the Cougar Welcome events and the Student Activities Fair in August/September.
5. Join an intramural team
Students can register an intramural team for free if all their teammates are residents of University Housing (if they all live on campus). Their Community Director can sign off on the registration form. Resident Assistants can help students connect with other residents interested in forming a team.
University Housing exists to support the academic mission of the institution. We are committed to your student’s academic success and provide the following resources: in-hall tutoring, Faculty Fellows, quiet places to study, and events that address academic success. RAs and Community Directors are also great resources for students as they transition to college academics.
7. Be safe
College students often take risks without realizing it. Remind your student to take responsibility for their safety as well as the safety of their belongings. Tips include: locking the room/apartment/bathroom doors, keeping valuables out of sight, not propping doors open, never walking alone at night, and reporting any suspicious behavior they see.
8. Take advantage of community funds
Community Funds is money available to residents for planning social events and activities. The residents of each community decide on what activities to sponsor and they plan those activities. Resident Assistants and Community Directors are available for guidance and assistance.
9. Utilize community space
Each wing in the residence halls has a Social Lounge and a Study Lounge. These are great spaces to hang out with friends or form study groups. The Cougar Village Commons offers a Study Lounge and a Multi-Function Room. In addition, each housing community offers lots of communal outdoor space (i.e. volleyball courts, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic areas, and etc.) Spending time in common areas helps facilitate conversation and community with neighbors.
10. Talk about alcohol and other drugs
It’s a well known fact that students tend to experiment while in college. That being said, it is always appropriate to remind your student to make informed, healthy, and legal choices. Certain choices have an impact on both academic performance and personal success. Encourage your student to be aware of the ramifications of any decisions they make along the way.
Bluff, Prairie, and Woodland residents and guests are not permitted to have alcohol, alcohol containers (even if empty), or devices used for rapid consumption of alcohol. This policy is applicable to all residents regardless of age. Evergreen and Cougar Village residents and their guests must be 21 years of age or older if they choose to possess and /or consume alcohol in their residence. Please see more stipulations of this policy in the Living Guide. Possession of a keg on University property will lead to termination of residency. Containers holding more than one gallon of alcoholic beverages or devices promoting the rapid consumption of alcohol (i.e. - funnels, bongs, etc.) are prohibited on University property and will be confiscated.