Guide for Parents

What is it like living in the residence halls?

What do students learn living in the residence halls?

As you well know by now Macalester students will be getting a first rate education through their interactions with faculty in the classroom. We also are seeking to foster a first rate learning experience in their lives beyond the classroom. The unique experience of residence hall living is full of opportunities to learn about self and others, how to communicate across difference, how to build and sustain relationships, and understand ones roles and responsibilities in a community. The staff in the halls will help facilitate these learning opportunities through intentional conversations, roommate agreements, community agreements and regular community meetings, and both formal and informal events in the halls and across campus. Our goal is to build authentic communities where differences are valued and explored, meaningful connections are made, conflict is not avoided but engaged in a healthy manner, and personal and community reflection is valued.

What is the role of the RA?

Each floor community has a resident assistant or RA. The RA is a student who lives on the floor and is a mentor, resource, educator, crisis manager, social justice advocate, and community builder. Each RA is carefully selected through an intense process including applications, letters of recommendation, individual interviews, and assessment of their leadership potential through group process scenarios. RAs arrive on campus early and engage in two weeks of training on a wide range of issues including building community, crisis management, diversity and social justice, policy enforcement, mental health issues, communication, and how to be an expert on campus resources. RAs will get to know each resident individually and help get them connected to others on the floor and in the broader Macalester community. Residents often see RAs helping them through challenges with their roommates, planning community programs, inviting groups of students to dinner in Café Mac, or hanging out on the floor studying for their own classes.

What is the role of the RHD?

Each area has a Residence Hall Director or RHD. The RHD supervises a staff of RAs and provides overall management for the residence hall facilities, community development, educational initiatives, policy enforcement, and crisis management. The RHDs are full-time professional staff with master’s degrees in student affairs and higher education who live in the residence halls. Residents will often see the RHD in their office meeting with students, leading educational initiatives, walking the floors chatting with residents, supervising the RAs, and engaged as professionals all around campus.

What if a resident doesn’t like their room or their roommate and wants to move?

Challenges between roommates is a very normal part of this experience. Just about every resident will face some challenges as they work to decide how clean they want to keep their room, sleep schedules, noise levels, sharing food, and much more. Rather than hope to avoid these challenges, we value them as opportunities for students to begin to learn about compromise, communication, healthy conflict resolution, and developing meaningful trusting relationship. We also recognize that many students will need some assistance in developing these important skills. RAs will encourage residents to complete roommate agreements early on and revisit them regularly or as issues arise throughout the year. RAs will also be available to help coach students about how to engage in these conversations and can even serve as a facilitator if the students involved think it will be helpful. Most roommate issues are able to be resolved by simply encouraging the residents to communicate openly and honestly with each other. However, in some instances further assistance is needed and the RHD can be helpful in assisting students as they learn to navigate particularly difficult relationships. We do have a room change freeze for the first two weeks of the school year where we do not allow any room changes as we confirm who has arrived and who hasn’t and what spaces only appear available and what space really are available. We also often learn of students with documented disabilities and are working to find spaces that meet their accommodation needs during this time. After the two week room freeze students can check with their RHD about possible room changes and what is available.

Are there important dates that I should keep in mind?

  • Fall Break – Thursday, October 25-Sunday, October 28, 2012
  • (Halls remain open – Café Mac open with limited hours)
  • Thanksgiving Break – Thursday, November 22-Sunday, November 25, 2012
  • (Halls remain open – Café Mac open with limited hours)
  • Winter Break – Tuesday, December 18, 2012-Saturday, January 26, 2013
  • Halls will close on Tuesday, December 28 at Noon; students must leave the Residence Halls by noon on 12/18 or within 24-hours after their last final
  • January Break housing is open to students who qualify and submit an application to Residential Life.  January break is Wednesday, January 2-Saturday, January 26, 2013
  • Semester II Opening – Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 9 a.m.
  • Spring Break – Saturday, March 16-Sunday, March 24, 2013
  • (Halls remain open – Café Mac closed; Grille open with limited hours)
  • Residence Halls close – Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at Noon to all non-seniors & students not working/ volunteering/performing for commencement.  Approved students for working/volunteering/performing for commencement must check-out by Sunday, May 13, 2012 by Noon.

What are the guidelines for storage?

Students have the option to store items during the academic school year in their hall’s storage room.  There are times posted at the beginning and the end of each semester denoting times.
Items that can be stored: Rubbermaid type containers, suitcases, boxes (sealed shut), and stackable shelf units that are closed and sealed.
Items that cannot be stored: furniture, shelving units, laundry baskets, garbage/trash cans, carpet, lamps, fans, other large bulky items, or items in plastic or paper bags
Students may also store items in hall storage over the summer given the following guidelines:

  • Students will store in the hall’s storage of their Fall assignment housing
  • Students must live on-campus for the upcoming Fall semester or are on a Fall Study Abroad program and sign-up for the upcoming Spring semester housing
  • Students must live over 150 miles from Macalester (due to space constraints)
  • Students are limited to five (4) manageable boxes/containers (due to space constraints)
  • Storage is limited and hours will be posted for available dates/times.  We recommend storing early since storage rooms do fill quickly and are on a first come, first served basis
  • Students must claim all items stored over the summer by the first day of Fall classes.  Students will not have access to stored items over the summer until opening day for upper-class students in the fall
  • This is a service Residential Life provides at no charge to the student

Other tidbits to know:

  • Washers and dryers are avialable in all of the halls. Students can use Aux Points ($1.25 to wash, $1 to dry) from their PlaidPass (student ID).
  • Lofting
  • Doty – Beds cannot be lofted but they can be bunked using the materials available from the hall office.
  • Dupre – Beds are all lofted and can be delofted if necessary.
  • Turck – Beds are not lofted but can be using the materials available from the hall office.
  • All of the residence hall beds need extra long (80 in) bed sheets.
  • Residence can rent or buy refrigerators. The maximum size is 3.6 cubic feet. Microwaves are not permitted.