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Living on Campus

We get it—living with someone can be terrifying, but it can also be a great experience.

Regardless of whether you have known one another for years or if you are just meeting one another, you will find that sharing a room with another person(s) requires open and honest communication, cooperation, and compromise. Relationships of any kind involve a bit of work, some give and take, and an understanding of each other.

If your roommate is new to you

If you do not currently know one another, we know the first thing you will do when you get your roommate’s information is to look them up on social media—and that’s fine! However, it is important to remember that people’s digital identity does not always give a clear picture of who they are in real life. Use their phone number and actually talk to your new roommate before you make judgments based solely on their social media presence. Some questions/things you might like to talk about with your new roommate: 

  • Why did they pick SUNY Potsdam? 
  • What are they thinking about majoring in? 
  • What do they like to do for fun? 
  • What are they looking forward to the most about coming to Potsdam? 
  • Also, don’t forget logistics, such as: 
    • Who will bring the refrigerator? 
    • Who will bring the microwave? 
    • Who is bringing a TV?

If you are having issues with your roommate

Having conflict with people that you live with is completely normal. Ideally, and most often, roommate tension can be worked out by communicating face-to- face with each other about your concerns. As you talk with your roommate, we recommend that you consider the items included on the Roommate Bill Of Rights. You might also consider developing a Roommate Agreement to help facilitate a resolution to the conflict. See your Resident Assistant or Residence Hall Director to start this process.

If you’ve tried to talk to your roommate and don’t feel like things are getting better, the next step is to contact your RA or RD. They will work with you and your roommate to help mediate the situation and resolve the conflict, if possible.

Changing Rooms

It is important to note that changing rooms is almost never the first step to resolving issues with your roommate(s). However, should you not be satisfied with your living arrangements, you can approach your Residence Hall Director (RD) for a room change request. Prior to any changes, you must receive permission from your current RD and from the RD of the new building (if applicable). After receiving permission, you will need to fill out a room change request form and follow instructions for checking out/checking into rooms.

Please note that there is a 2 week room freeze at the beginning of each semester and a one week room freeze at the end of the fall semester where no room changes occur.

I don’t want to live with anyone, I just want a single.

While we do offer a limited number of singles on campus, we are not able to accommodate everyone who wants a single on campus. As such, requesting a single is not an automatic process; people are often on a waiting list for quite a while. Should you like to apply for a single, you can do so by completing the Single Room Wait List Application (available first day of the fall semester) and returning it to the Residence Life Office on the first floor of the Draime Hall Extension.

Should you feel that you need a single for medical reasons, you and your health care provider can request one by using the Medical Housing application. The Medical Housing accommodation process and application can be found online here.

Policies, Handbook and Minimum Living Standards

We realize that being safe on campus—and feeling safe on campus—are critical to your success as a student.

An important part of our mission is to provide a safe and clean environment within the Residence Halls. However, creating a safe environment requires participation from everyone who lives in the Residence Halls. On this page, you will learn about the efforts we take to help ensure your safety as well as the steps that you need to take.

Building & Room Access 

Every Residence Hall is locked by a keyless entry system. Campus ID cards allow students to access any residence area (except the Townhouses). At check-in, each student will be issued an individual key for their assigned residence hall room/suite/townhouse. Please note that you are responsible for, and expected to, carry your key and Campus ID card with you at all times.

Any lost key should be reported to Residence Life immediately. In most cases, there will be a charge for replacing the key and changing the lock on the room. Campus ID cards should be reported lost on BearPAWS immediately and deactivated: they are replaced at the PACES Business Office.

Building Security 

Each building is regularly checked by Residence Life staff as well as patrolled by University Police. Some areas of the Residence Halls are subject to video surveillance (this is limited to public, common areas of the residence halls and may include building entrances, lobbies, lounges, elevators, elevator areas, stairwells, laundry rooms, recreation rooms, storage rooms, and hallways that do not contain student rooms). Video surveillance can be used to assist with investigations into policy violations and unlawful behaviors.

Emergency Response 

The residence halls have a variety of staff available to assist students with emergencies. This includes a number of trained live-in professional and paraprofessional staff members. These staff members are available day and night to address situations that might arise. Staff can be reached by the posted numbers within the Residence Halls and/or by going directly to the staff member’s room.

A number of other departments have staff available after traditional business hours. These include the Counseling Center, University Police, Maintenance Staff. Each building has staff on-call from 7 p.m. - 7 a.m. on weekdays and all day on the weekends.

Buildings are also equipped with emergency, land-line phones (red phones) on each floor/area that dial directly to University Police for emergencies in the Residence Halls. Each building is also equipped with AED devices. 

Fire Safety 

All of the residence halls have a variety of fire safety equipment to help ensure students’ safety. The buildings are equipped with fire alarm pull stations, smoke and heat detectors, and fire extinguishers. In addition, the Townhouses, Bowman East, Bowman West, and some areas of Bowman South have sprinklers in the rooms and/or common areas. Falsely activating or tampering with any of these systems may result in removal from the Residence Halls.

Whenever the alarms activate, students must evacuate their building immediately and gather at least 50 feet away from the building. University Police and the Potsdam Fire Department respond to all alarms.

All residence hall rooms, suites, apartments, and townhouses are inspected during the first few weeks of each semester and annually by a State Fire Inspector. Monthly fire extinguisher checks are done in all areas that have kitchens.

The following items are considered fire violations and are not permitted in the Residence Halls: 

  • Students cannot hang anything that is fabric (tapestries, flags, etc) on the walls 
  • Any lights that are hung up cannot be connected to more than one wall (e.g. a string of lights cannot cross a corner) 
  • Nothing can be hung from the ceiling 
  • Students cannot have anything that emits an open flame (candles, incense, etc) 
  • Students are not allowed to cover, or tamper with, any of the fire safety equipment in their room 
  • Students are not permitted to have space heaters 
  • The only kitchen appliances that are permitted are microwaves, refrigerators, and a coffee maker 
  • All appliances need to be plugged directly into the wall.
  • Extension cords are not permitted. However, students may use power strips/surge protectors (must have a built in fuse) 

In addition, the over-all condition of the room must allow for a clear passage to the exits in the room. This list is not comprehensive. You are encouraged to review the specific fires safety policies found within the Residence Life Policies. Please note that this list is subject to change, without warning, based on NYS fire code and/or the Dorm Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).

RAVE Alert & RAVE Guardian

RAVE alert is SUNY Potsdam’s notification system. While notifications will automatically be sent to individual’s Potsdam email address, you can also sign up to receive notifications to additional email address, 3 cell phone numbers, and 3 landline phone numbers. We encourage all students to sign up to receive these notifications. They can also choose to use one of the additional contact points to sign up close family members. 

RAVE Guardian is a free mobile app that turns any smartphone into a personal safety device. The app allows you to invite people to join your network as “Guardians.” When needed, you can request for one of your Guardians to virtually walk with them on or off campus. It also has a safety feature that can directly connect you to University Police in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Procedures & Missing Student Guidelines 

Upon check-in, each student is given an emergency procedures brochure that includes information on what to do in the event the Residence Halls need to be evacuated, along with instructions on what to do when there is a gas leak, a utility failure, suspicious envelopes/packages, and other important information. This brochure can be viewed here.

Based on the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Section 485 (j), each residential student will be asked to identify a person designated as a confidential contact to be notified by SUNY Potsdam after the time the student is determined to be missing for more than twenty-four hours. More information about this policy can be viewed here.

General Safety Tips 

  • You are responsible for carrying your key(s) and SUNY ID Card with you at all times 
  • Make sure the exterior doors to your building are shut after you use them 
  • Do not prop open the exterior building doors. Propping doors creates a potentially unsafe situation. 
  • Keep your room/suite/office doors locked at all times for your safety and the protection of your valuables. This includes when you are sleeping, doing laundry, in the bathroom, or in class. 
  • It is important that any safety concerns, strange activity, behaviors, and/or persons are reported immediately to University Police (315-267-2222) 
  • Do not leave your personal property in an unsecured area, especially laundry unattended in the laundry room 
  • It is recommended to mark personal belongings and record serial numbers; University Police can assist with this through their Operation ID program 
  • Do not walk outside alone after dark 
  • Take note of the locations of blue light phones and courtesy phones around campus, and make sure you have RAVE Guardian installed on your mobile device.