Santa Clara University

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Community Life in the Halls


What is an RLC?

Santa Clara University’s Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) are about connections. You will meet so many people while at SCU and an RLC will help you connect with these people in an exciting and dynamic environment. An RLC helps you connect with your peers and other students on campus, with faculty (in and outside of class), full-time staff, an Academic Advisor, and a Resident Minister - just to name a few!

An RLC is not only for on-campus students.  Off-campus students are also members of RLCs, having access to programs and socials, study groups and RLC linked courses.  It is a great way to feel connected to a community, without actually living in the building!

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Living in an RLC

Moving into a new environment can be one of the most exciting aspects of starting college. By living on campus in a Residential Learning Community (RLC), you will gain tremendous opportunity for growth and development. An engaging learning environment takes shape when people share interests, knowledge, and experiences. Faculty, Housing and Residence Life staff, and peer educators enhance this environment by helping you become involved.

The activities in your RLC will touch all aspects of your life. You will enhance your learning, develop roommate communication skills, and stay up late discussing political issues. You will participate in events both academic and social. You will be exposed to different attitudes, values, and lifestyles. We encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you and to participate actively in creating them.

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Safety and Security

Safety and security are of the utmost importance in each of our communities.  All residence halls require ACCESS Cards for entry.  Once you leave your room, make sure to lock your door, even if you are just going next door.  Although you feel safe in your residence hall, it is important that you protect your personal items and your roommate's items from theft. Use locks for valuable electronics when possible and be mindful when bringing other valuable objects to the community.

When you enter your building and let a stranger into the building out of kindness, you may be allowing a potential threat into your and your neighbor's home. Be vigilant when letting people follow you into the building or opening doors for strangers.  Front desk receptionists are asked to never open doors.

Take advantage of the walking escort service provided by SCU Campus Safety Services. You can reach the office by dialing 408-554-4441. During late night hours, do not walk around campus by yourself. Campus Safety will escort you to your community. Crime bulletins and statistics can be found on the SCU Campus Safety Department Web Site.


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Doing Your Part in the Community

Living on campus helps most students meet their main goals for being here: studying and learning. Residence halls are close to classes, faculty, and the library and provide a place for students to study, sleep, and socialize.

So how does a student like yourself go about helping to make sure the building you live in remains a place for study and rest, while at the same time serving as a place you play your music and hang out with your friends?

Students living on campus find it useful to set up a few basic rules everyone agrees to live by. Setting these rules is known as negotiating floor agreements. At the beginning of the year, each community comes together to discuss the type of living/learning environment they wish to establish on their floor. Usually facilitated by your Community Facilitator, the process works best when people listen to each other’s concerns and are willing to contribute to the process. Simple majority rule is not the name of the game—reaching a group consensus is.

Some examples of concerns other floors have incorporated in their floor agreements include:

  • Use of lounge areas—study vs. social
  • Hallway and bathroom cleanliness
  • Safety issues—neighborhood watch
  • Extended study/quiet hours
  • Floor activities
  • How to confront a fellow floor member who is violating the floor agreement
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Roommate Relationships

Roommates may not always be the best of friends, but that does not mean they cannot have a healthy living environment.  For roommates to get along well, it is important that they get to know one another as people. Roommates need to openly discuss certain things in the very beginning to avoid misunderstandings in the future. Communication is the key to successful roommate relationships.

The following questions are designed to help you and your roommate explore each other’s habits, preferences, values, and emotional styles. Please arrange yourselves in a comfortable face-to-face position so that you make eye contact. Take turns answering the following questions and take the time to answer the questions seriously and honestly with responses that reflect who you are—not who you want to be.

Background: Do you like to be addressed by your given name or nickname? When is your birthday? Describe your hometown and your high school. Why did you decide to come to Santa Clara?

Study Habits: When and where do you like to study? Do you study with or without music playing? How often and for how long do you like to study?

Sleeping: When do you like to go to sleep and get up? Do you take naps? Can you sleep with lights on or music playing?

Visitors: When do you want/not want to have visitors? How much privacy do you like? How will we deal with visitor problems?

Tobacco, Drugs, and Alcohol: Do you smoke? Does it bother you when others smoke? What are your views on alcohol and drugs? How would you feel if I used these items? If I do not use them?

Sharing Things: How do you feel about borrowing or lending clothes, personal items, or money? Will we rent a refrigerator?

Housekeeping: How important is a clean room? How often should we clean? Who should do what jobs?

Personal: What type of music do you like?

Do you have any habits I should know about? What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you express your feelings outwardly or do you keep them to yourself? What values are important to you? How will I know if you are upset, happy, or depressed?

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Roommate Rights and Responsibilities

Your enjoyment of living on campus will largely depend on the relationship you have with your roommate. Consideration is key to a positive experience. Roommates have 10 basic rights. Roommates also have the responsibility to ensure that their roommate’s rights are respected. These rights include the freedom to:

  1. Read and study without undue interference in one’s own room.
  2. Sleep and study without undue disturbance from noise, guests, or neighbors.
  3. Have one’s personal belongings respected. Lending or borrowing of items such as clothes, CDs, or DVDs should be by mutual agreement.
  4. Expect a clean and pleasant living environment. Standards for cleanliness are to be agreed upon and maintained by both roommates.
  5. Expect a reasonable amount of privacy, agreed upon by both roommates.
  6. Have free access to one’s room without pressure from a roommate.
  7. Guests are to respect the rights of the roommate and other hall residents and to abide by Housing and Residence Life policies. Both roommates are responsible for seeing that policies and guidelines are upheld in their room.
  8. Ask assistance from residence hall staff in settling conflicts when the situation cannot be resolved by the roommates themselves.
  9. Be safe from physical and/or emotional harm.
  10. Expect reasonable cooperation in the use of shared appliances (such as TV, refrigerator, microwave).
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Roommate Agreement

After completing the relationship exercise, it should be a lot easier to identify areas where there are differences and to work out mutually agreeable solutions to them. A good way to do this is to negotiate what is going to happen in your room and to make a written agreement. The written agreement should be clear and acceptable to both of you. You and your roommate should encourage each other to make a commitment to the agreement, and you should provide a basis to renegotiate the agreement. Here are some important issues to include in your agreement:

  • Decide on your study and sleep schedules.
  • Determine when you may or may not have guests in the room and how long the guests may stay.
  • Make definite rules as to what may or may not be borrowed.
  • Make definite commitments on cleaning responsibilities.
  • Set up rules for watching TV, playing music or quiet time.
  • Determine how you will arrange the room and where things will be stored.
Your CF will notify you when roommate agreements are due at the beginning of the year, or if you have performed a room change in the middle of the year.  Failure to submit your roommate agreement on time may result in fines charged to each roommate.

Click here to download a double room roommate agreement.

Click here to download a suite/apartment roommate agreement.

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Roommate Conflicts

Conflicts are bound to occur, even in the best roommate relationships. Do not be afraid of conflict. Resolving conflicts can lead to a better relationship and a more harmonious environment. If problems between you and your roommate do arise, you may find it helpful to follow the steps below:

  1. Define the problem. Take turns stating what is bothering you, how you feel about the problem, and what you want.
  2. Generate possible solutions. Once you agree on what the conflict is, take turns describing possible solutions.
  3. Evaluate the solutions. Honestly evaluate each solution. Can the solution work? Is it fair to both of you?
  4. Decide on a mutually acceptable solution(s). Come to an agreement on one or more of the solutions and commit to carrying them out.
  5. Implement the solution. Develop a plan of action to achieve the desired solution and set a time frame in which to implement it.
  6. Evaluate the solution. Determine whether everyone is satisfied with the solution. If there are still problems, try to make the necessary changes.

Remember that both roommates must be willing to compromise in order to find a viable solution. If a compromise seems impossible, do not give up. An objective third party may be needed for resolution. Your Community Facilitator is available to help. Please feel free to call on them. Contacting the staff early when a conflict arises can often prevent the situation from exploding.

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Room Changes

If you feel that you and your roommate have exhausted all possibilities, a room change may be possible.  Room changes may happen if one of the roommates is willing to move.  For more information about room changes, please click here.

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