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Frequently Asked Questions About Residence Life at SUNY Plattsburgh

Are students guaranteed housing?

If all of the approximately 6000 students at SUNY Plattsburgh wanted to live on campus, we would not be able to accommodate them, so technically, the answer  is no. However, since only half of our undergraduate students typically request to live in residence halls, we are usually able to accommodate everyone.  Room assignments are made on a first-come, first-serve basis and we would resort to tripling double rooms in order to give students a room when demand exceeds our capacity.

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What is provided in the room?

Each room is provided with a dresser, desk and chair, bed and mattress, a built-in closet, mirror, wastebasket, a telephone with campus service & voicemail, cable television services and two computer data ports. Furniture in rooms is movable.

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What should students bring to campus?

Items to bring include a pillow, blanket, bedspread, mattress pad, sheets (extra long twin), towels, laundry bag or basket, bath bucket (to carry personal items to the shower), hangers, sewing kit, first aid kit, alarm clock, hair dryer, study lamp, stamps, throw rugs, items to decorate the room, and their personal computer.

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Can a housing contract be cancelled?

The housing contract is a legal document and is binding for both the fall and spring semesters once it has been signed. Students are responsible for both the fall and spring semesters unless they participate in a college-sponsored program away from Plattsburgh or withdraw from the college. There is a $500 cancellation charge for December cancellations when students are approved to move off campus.

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When do students arrive and leave?

For the fall semester, students may arrive the Saturday prior to the start of classes beginning at 8:00 a.m. Exceptions are new international students and participants in fall sports. These groups are to arrive according to instructions from their respective directors or coaches. Note that food service does not begin early.

Halls open for Spring Semester check-in at 11:00 a.m. on the Saturday or Sunday prior to start of classes. Only those students who are new for Spring semester must check-in at the Housing Office.

At the end of a semester a student leaving Plattsburgh must check out and leave within twenty-four hours of her/his last final exam or before the official closing date/time, whichever is sooner.

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What happens if a resident doesn't get along with his/her roommate?

The quality of the relationship between roommates is a major determining factor in one's satisfaction with college life. Some of the primary components of a positive roommate relationship are the assertive expression of one's needs, the recognition and respect for the unique needs and lifestyles of others, and the positive management of conflict.

Students are expected to take primary responsibility for insuring the development and maintenance of positive roommate relationship. Students are strongly encouraged to invest themselves fully in working together with roommates to resolve any differences by speaking directly to roommates in sharing concerns, expressing feelings in an honest manner, and jointly negotiating a resolution to conflict.

On occasion, a student will attempt to resolve problems by talking to a roommate who is unresponsive. In other cases, a student may be having a difficult time approaching the roommate. In either of these situations, students should seek the help of their Resident Assistant or Residence Director. Residence Hall staff members can assist students in expressing themselves to their roommates or assist in negotiating a living agreement.

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Why do residents have to purchase a meal plan if they live in the residence halls?

First-year freshmen are required to purchase either meal plan A or B. These plans provide access to our dining halls for your primary meals. All other resident students are required to purchase one of five on-campus meal plans. This insures access to high-quality, nutritious meals. Many students attending college for the first time are not experienced with time management. Having a meal plan relieves the student of the responsibility of shopping, cooking, and cleaning up after meals, allowing more time for academic pursuits. Furthermore, residence halls are not equipped for students to prepare their own meals. Of concern are the potential for fire, activation of smoke alarms, clogged drains, improper disposal of waste and garbage, electrical overload, insects and rodents.

A low-cost, high-quality dining program requires a solid financial base. Our residence hall students provide that base. If meal plans were optional for residence hall students, the cost would be significantly higher.

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What can be done about the level of noise on the floor?

Residents are responsible for maintaining reasonable conditions for study and sleep in the residence halls. SUNY Plattsburgh is committed to the concept that its residence halls complement and foster the academic and intellectual development of its students. There is an expectation that all residence halls must be conducive to studying, especially in the evenings. To that end, the ability to occupy and enjoy one's room for the purposes of studying in peace and quiet takes precedence over any other activity. Quiet hours are in effect in all residence hall areas on class nights from 10 pm to 10 am. On Friday and Saturday evenings common courtesy must prevail. Loud noise and disorderly behavior is not acceptable at any time. A twenty-four-hour quiet period goes into effect prior to and during final exams.

Students are expected to confront other individuals who are infringing upon their right to study or sleep. Resident Assistants are available to help maintain a reasonable level of quiet on the floor. However, Resident Assistants should not be expected to be the sole policy enforcer on the floor. No staff member can be available twenty-four hours a day to handle every possible situation that may arise. At the same time, students are encouraged to practice the skills they will need to be self-sufficient adults. When asked to settle a noise situation, RA's are likely to ask the resident if she/he has made any attempt to resolve the situation. If the resident has made an attempt and did not receive an adequate response, the RA will assist in intervention. If the resident has not made an attempt, the RA is likely to encourage her or him initially to discuss the matter with the student in question.

Students who continually show disrespect for the rights of others and/or refuse to cooperate with requests to keep the noise level down are referred to the Judicial Coordinator for disciplinary action. Repeated violations could lead to a student's loss of eligibility for campus housing.

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How does a resident get a room change?

When warranted, students may request a change in their living situation. Students should be aware that before a change can occur, roommates must be considered and taken into account. All changes must be approved prior to the physical move. Students must move within 24 hours of the approval date.

Residents can apply in to be reassigned for the spring semester. Procedures for end-of-semester changes will be forwarded to you at the appropriate time. Once a change has been approved, residents agree to move before leaving at the end of the fall semester. If this is not done, your change may need to be cancelled.

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Can a resident arrange beds in bunk or loft style?

Yes. Beds can be made into bunks in all residence halls. Residents may construct wooden loft structures to free up additional space in the room, however the GUIDELINES FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS must be followed (wood must be "fire-retardant-impregnated" not just sprayed on). These guidelines can be obtained at the Housing Office. The college reserves the right to inspect lofts and to insist on correction of any unstable or unsafe construction or removal.

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Are the rooms carpeted?

No. Students usually bring throw rugs or room size rugs that coordinate with their color scheme. Room size rugs may be purchased at the College Store.

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What types of safety and security measures are provided for residents on campus?

Plattsburgh State University Police can be reached twenty-fours hours a day at (518) 564-2022. In addition, the Housing & Residence Life Office provides on-call coverage from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day. The RA-on-Duty is reachable by phone during this time. (Phone numbers are listed in this brochure as well as being posted in each hall.)

Residence hall staff members are trained to deal effectively with emergency situations. Resident Assistants make additional rounds through and outside of buildings during the late evening and early morning hours. Each building is locked from midnight to 6:30 a.m. All residents are issued codes and/or cards to gain access to their assigned building as well as their room and/or suite doors.

State-of-the-art fire alarm systems with smoke and heat detectors have been installed in all residential buildings to help ensure the safety of residents.

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What kinds of appliances are allowed in the room?

Radios, stereo equipment, personal computers, typewriters, hair dryers, razors and clocks are permitted, providing they are plugged in within the room and do not exceed the amperage limits of the circuits within the room. Use of irons is permitted only in designated areas. Octopus-type electric plugs are not permitted. The use of a surge/noise suppression outlet strip to protect computers and other electrically sensitive equipment is recommended as well as UL-listed multiple outlet strip with a built-in 15 ampere fuse or circuit breaker protection.

Cooking is prohibited in any area within the residence halls except kitchenettes, which are specifically designed for such use. Hot pots, popcorn poppers, and coffee pots are to be used in the kitchenette only. Microwave ovens, toaster ovens, and hot plates are NOT permitted in individual student rooms.

Students may bring their own refrigerator, provided it meets the following guidelines. Only one refrigerator is allowed per room. It may be no more than 4.5 cubic feet in internal size. Also, it must have a 3-prong plug and be U. L. approved.

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Can students live on campus all four years?

Yes! Current procedure allows a student to keep his/her same building from year to year. A lottery system is used for those students wishing to change their building as well as for selection of rooms once a building has been arranged.

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What are the different living options available?

  • Coeducational Floor
  • All-Female or All-Male Floor
  • Mandatory Quiet Floor
  • Substance Free Hall or Area
  • Older Student Living Situation
  • First-Year Residence Halls

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Is there housing for first-year students?

SUNY Plattsburgh is committed to the quality of life of each and every first-year student. Our First-Year residence halls provide additional support to help with your transition to SUNY Plattsburgh and college life, in general. Faculty and Resident Mentors, along with lots of fun and educational programs, encourage students' success and will help first-year students to Stand Out From the Start. For Fall 2006, Whiteface Hall and Wilson Hall will be our first-year residence halls.

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What kind of visitation polices are in place?

The college permits guests, regardless of gender. However, based on respect for others, each resident is expected to abide by the following guidelines:

  • First, the rights to sleep, study and have privacy supersede all other rights, including visitation.
  • Second, any overnight guests need advance explicit consent of the roommate. Overnight guests are limited to one per resident and may not remain for more than three consecutive days.
  • Third, all guests entering the building must be escorted by their host/hostess at all times when they are in the building. Residents are directly responsible for the actions of their guests and are responsible for informing them of rules and facilities. Residents may face disciplinary action and be held financially responsible for any behavior of a guest that results in property damage. The college reserves the rights to deny access to any guest if it has been determined that the guest has disturbed, endangered, or disrupted residents or college activities.

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May residents keep firearms and other such weapons in their room?

No! Neither firearms nor weapons are permitted anywhere on campus.

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Is there a laundry or linen service?

SUNY Plattsburgh does not have a laundry or a linen service. Washers and dryers are available in common areas of each residence hall that are not coin operated; however, residents are billed a fee on the semester invoice for unlimited use.

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How are residence halls supervised?

Each residence hall is managed by a full-time graduate assistant trained specifically in working with college students in a residential setting. First-year residence halls will be managed by a full-time professional residence hall director.

Residence hall floors are staffed by undergraduate Resident Assistants (RA's). Low rise halls have two RA's per floor; high rises have one per floor. RA's are responsible for working with students to create and maintain a floor community conducive to academic, social, and personal needs. RA's are expected to confront violations of college policy, act as role models, encourage residents to take responsibility for their own actions/choices, and encourage respect and appreciation for each other.

Each residence hall office is staffed during the evening by student workers responsible for sorting mail, checking out recreational equipment, answering questions, and attending to administrative tasks within the building.

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What kinds of programming activities take place in the residence halls?

A variety of social and educational activities are planned for each residence hall. Educational programs are offered in the areas of health, safety and security, and intellectual wellness. Examples of topics that have been the focus of programs include drunk driving, sexuality, alcohol abuse, acquaintance rape, religion, race issues, and cultural diversity. Social and community development programs have included athletic events and intramurals, tie dyeing, ice cream socials, holiday celebrations, crafts, scavenger hunts, and community service projects. The Residence Hall Councils in each building also plan programs for students. Residents are encouraged to become involved in creating and presenting programs of their own.

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Can a resident paint his/her room?

Residents are permitted to paint their room with a light shade of latex paint - a shade that can be covered with one coat of white paint. They must first complete the APPLICATION FOR PAINTING A RESIDENCE HALL ROOM, pay a deposit that is returned upon inspection & approval.

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Is there telephone service in the room?

Each room is equipped with campus telephone service (one line) and voicemail. You or your roommate must bring your own phone. Each student will receive his/her own Personal Billing Number and will be billed only for the domestic long distance calls he/she places exceeding 400 minutes per month. Monthly service charge for telephones is included in your rent charge. Since voicemail is available, you do not need an answering machine.

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What about payment of room and meal fees?

Each resident's college bill should include fees for tuition, student activities, health services, educational services, housing, and dining services. All are payable as specified on the bill notice - generally in early August for the fall semester and mid-December for the spring semester. Students have several payment options, including an installment payment plan.

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Can residents have a vehicle on campus?

There are on-campus areas designated for student parking. Students are required to pay a registration and a parking fee in order to park on campus. This may be paid on your semester invoice. A hang-tag is issued at the University Police Office upon presentation of your vehicle registration.

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What about insurance?

The college does not take responsibility for losses suffered on campus because of fire, theft, water damage or other cause. It is therefore, advisable that all students who will reside on campus, check the extent of their current home insurance or seek coverage through a special policy. (A student policy will be mailed to you with your housing assignment.) The risk of having personal property in a college residence hall is borne entirely by the student and not the college or university. STUDENTS SHOULD KEEP THEIR ROOM AND SUITE DOORS LOCKED AT ALL TIMES.

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Are there any storage facilities?

Storage is located in eight residence halls. Students must tag any item stored with date, name and home address. Items unclaimed after one year will be discarded at the discretion of the college. (See "What about Insurance?" above.)

Bicycles must be stored in student rooms. Bicycle racks are available outside many residence halls and academic buildings. Residents are free to leave belongings in their rooms over break periods but are encouraged to take valuables with them.

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What happens when a rule or policy is violated?

Students who violate policies can expect to experience the consequences of those decisions. Generally, a student will be referred to the Judicial Coordinator. If the incident is confusing and requires investigation, the student is a repeat violator, or the situation is particularly serious a hearing may be scheduled. If a violation is determined, the coordinator will decide on sanctions or consequences appropriate to the case. Sanctions may include a reprimand, a reprimand with conditions, probation, a judicial registration record hold, suspension or dismissal. For a complete listing of rules as they relate to living in a residence hall at SUNY Plattsburgh, you can contact the Housing Office for a paper copy or download the On-Campus Housing Manual. (Note: this 556KB PDF file requires Acrobat Reader, which is available as a free download. )

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Is alcohol allowed on campus?

Yes, legal personal consumption of alcohol is permitted in the college residence halls. Alcohol events or parties are not permitted. In general, students who are 21 years of age may consume alcohol within their rooms. Personal consumption is limited to reasonable quantities of alcohol. Kegs of any size, beer balls and other unreasonable amounts are not permitted in and around the residence hall complex. Students under 21 years of age may not possess or be present where there is an open container of alcohol. Further detail on this policy will be available prior to the beginning of the semester.

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Can students stay in their rooms during vacations or breaks?

Students may prearrange for vacation occupancy by contacting Housing during the week prior to scheduled closing. Please note that there is an extra charge.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions about housing or residence life at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Trisha Hanson, Assistant Director of Housing
Housing & Residence Life Office
Algonquin Hall 103
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  
Phone: (518) 564-3824
Email: [email protected]