College Lifestyle and Product Blog for Dorm Room Living | DormSmart: Campus Housing Rules

Showing posts with label Campus Housing Rules. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Campus Housing Rules. Show all posts

July 24, 2015

List of Items Not to Bring to College: Dorm Room Contraband

Dorm Room Contraband
Dorm Room Contraband

Since we are always writing about must have college dorm room essentials, we thought it would be a good idea to create a list of those items students should not bring to college, otherwise known as dorm room contraband. These items, listed in random order, made our top ten list at DormSmart:

#1 Pets

We realize there are a few colleges out there with pet friendly housing, and we applaud these trend setters. Unfortunately, the vast majority do not allow students to bring their family pet so do Fido a favor and leave him at home.

#2 Hot Plates and Toaster Ovens

Although we've noticed several retailers advertising a cute toaster oven and hot plate combo appliance this year, most schools consider any form of these items a fire hazard and have banned them from their dorm rooms. Don't waste your money, just use your dorm room microwave or residence hall kitchen.

#3 Weapons

Leave your guns and knives at home please, including paint ball and stun guns! Check with your campus police to see what security products you can legally use for protection on your college or university campus. Some schools even ban pepper spray and the average kitchen knife on campus 

#4 Expensive Jewelry

We all like it and want to keep it! If you choose not to heed this advice and bring it, at least invest in a good  dorm room safe.

#5 Large Sums of Cash

You may as well donate it to charity and take the tax deduction because if it’s stolen, how do you prove it was yours? "Duh, it had a picture of Benjamin Franklin on it officer, honest."

#6 Large Screen Television

We hear about this a lot. Not a great idea in limited space.  Even if it is not contraband on your campus, it is smarter to dorm room size your electronics.

#7 Full Size Appliances

Attempting to hide a stocked full size refrigerator in a college dorm room is not the best idea and could be unsafe on the existing circuitry. We have to wonder how students manage to get one past their RA. Even if you're a caffeine addict, a 24-cup coffeemaker is out of the question. Can you really drink that much coffee before your 8:00 a.m. class? Live safer and dorm room size your appliances.

#8 Illegal Drugs or Alcohol

Seriously, do we need to say more?

#9 Candles or Incense

Keep your dorm room fire free. Opt for air freshener and soft lighting.

#10 Boyfriend or Girlfriend

While you may miss each other and we feel your pain, it really isn’t appropriate or fair to your roommate to move your boyfriend or girlfriend into your college dorm room, especially when they aren’t enrolled.

    Just a few more tips to live smarter on campus from DormSmart. Good luck this school year!

    June 27, 2014

    Is it really your college campus bookstore you're shopping or ... how do you know?

    Since DormSmart was formed in 2009, I’ve witnessed a plethora of specialty stores and big box retailers jumping into the dorm room supplies marketplace or beefing up their ad campaigns. I have also observed many schools trending toward third party providers to manage their bookstores; and, that's ok because universities and colleges are in the business of educating students, not retailing. Unfortunately, all these changes in the market can make it confusing for college bound students to know where they are shopping for campus living supplies and if the products they are purchasing are indeed housing compliant as sometimes implied on retailer websites. Especially, when there are some retailers who present themselves in a manner that makes it difficult for students to discern whether or not they are shopping at their college campus bookstore, a third party managed bookstore, or another retail site altogether. So this is my advice for students when shopping for college campus living supplies:

    Independently check and respect your school housing policies...

    At the end of the day, it won't really matter where you shop for college as long as you independently check and respect you school's campus housing policies; just make sure it is a reputable retailer. After all, it is your signature on the housing contract so it is best to read the policies yourself then shop accordingly. This will ensure that no money is wasted purchasing and hauling products to campus that are considered contraband, a violation of  housing policy. When you start fact checking, you will be amazed at the number of items retailers actually carry in their back to college shopping aisles that are non-compliant or just impractical for on campus housing, even some campus bookstores carry inappropriate items. I recently visited a range of retailers and while I am happy to see them listing their bedding dimensions now, I am still finding products being promoted specifically for dorm room living that are just impractical or non compliant.

    For kicks and giggles, I’m throwing together a short list of the top 10 questionable products I encountered when shopping back to college aisles this year:

    #1 Knife Sets 

    Many campuses have policies about the size or type of knives students may have in on campus housing. Some schools even prohibit knives, let alone a full set.

    #2 Large Pots and Pan Sets 

    While they may not be prohibited, they are somewhat impractical for the typical dorm room with limited storage and no stove. Many residence hall kitchens do have pots and pans available.

    #3 Toasters 

    Most schools prohibit toasters in campus dorm rooms.

    #4 Toaster Ovens 

    Most schools prohibit toaster ovens in campus dorm rooms.

    #5 Electric Skillets 

    Most schools prohibit electric skillets in campus dorm rooms.

    #6 Non UL Listed (or ETL Listed) Appliances 

    Honestly, non tested appliances should not be used in any home, much less student housing.

    #7 Extension Cords 

    Tempting, but NO! Most schools do not allow the use of extension cords and certainly do not allow daisy chaining of extension cords in campus housing. Students should use the appropriate size surge protector with built in overload protection, check with campus housing.

    #8 Oversized Appliances 

    In 2009, I coined the term dorm size meaning students should always use appropriately sized housing approved appliances in their dorm rooms.

    #9 Mountable Wall Decor 

    If you don’t mind giving up your housing deposit or possibly incurring additional costs… but seriously, schools do not want holes in their walls. Also, many schools limit the amount of wall space that can be covered with decor like a tapestry for fire safety reasons. Funny story, a few years ago, I happened across a retailer selling tapestries to students as a multi-use product “…use it on your wall or cover up with it…” – now that made me giggle!

    #10 Glass or Ceramic Furnishings

    When I select items for dorm smart living, I always try to think of a hotel room during spring break. I just hate the idea of seeing a student purchase a beautiful piece of furniture or lamp only to have it break during a get together or between dorm room moves.

    That’s my short list and opinion. As always, check your school housing policies before shopping and live dorm smart!

    More Helpful Resources for Students Preparing for Campus Living:

    May 31, 2014

    How to Shop for College Campus Living

    How to shop for college campus living!
    How to Shop for College
    Over the next few months, college bound students will find themselves overwhelmed by all the hype of shopping for their college dorm room or campus apartment. To assist students, Dorm Smart has compiled three quick tips about how to shop smart for living on a college campus:

    Tip 1: Consult your school student housing policies yourself…

    College bound students or in this case, campus bound, should always consult their school housing policies for what to bring and what not to bring to campus. Don’t take any retailers word for it, even if a retailer states they are “Campus Approved” or “School Approved” stores. What harm is there in connecting with your school and checking their policies yourself before shopping?

    Remember, you are solely responsible for checking and respecting your college housing policies, so do your homework.

    Tip 2: Shop at  home first…

    Once students have consulted their school housing policies and know what they can bring to their college campus, DormSmart recommends they shop at home first to save a few dollars. Afterward, they can compile a shopping list of the items they need to purchase for their move to college.

    Tip 3: Focus on products verses back to college shopping campaigns…

    Regardless of how well a retail store presents themselves in their back to college shopping campaign or online shop, it is important for students to remember these are advertisements to gain sales. It is best to focus on product attributes to ensure they are school approved or appropriate for living in a dorm room or apartment on your college campus.

    Here are a few examples of pitfalls to avoid:
    Example 1:
    During the back to college shopping season, students will find retailers selling “86 inch long” standard twin comforters and duvets as twin XL. Unfortunately, to properly fit an 80 inch extra long twin mattress, a comforter or duvet should be a minimum of 90 inches in length. To ensure a proper fit, it is best for students to check the actual bedding dimensions verses depending upon a package or ad labeling the product as twin XL. Also, students should be cautious of product photos that make the bedding appear longer. Bottom line, while bedding dimensions and their labeled sizes seem to vary in the marketplace, a twin XL mattress is still 80 inches long.
    Example 2:
    Students will undoubtedly come across retailers selling colorful toaster ovens, toasters, hot pots, hot plates, knife sets, and more as dorm room appropriate in their back to college aisles. Many colleges and universities consider these items either unsafe or have restrictions for bringing them on campus. For example, many colleges regulate the size and type of a knife that students can bring into their residence halls and strictly prohibit many small appliances, such as a toaster, in residence hall dorm rooms.
    At the end of the day, whether students choose to shop at DormSmart or another retailer, remember colleges and universities have the final say about what students can bring or not bring into their campus residence halls. So save yourself some  time, money, and frustration by checking your school’s housing policies and respecting them… before shopping for college.

    Live Dorm Smart!

    More Helpful Articles for Students by DormSmart:

    March 31, 2012

    Quirkiest Campus Housing Rules

    Over the past year, I participated on a project team at, responsible for developing and implementing their new Campus Housing Connector  for college bound students. This tool allows students to connect directly to their campus housing office and get "their 411" (i.e. what to bring and what not to bring...) before shopping for dorm room supplies. During the course of the project, the team reviewed more than 2000 college housing websites nationwide and as a result, came across some pretty "QUIRKY” housing rules that may leave students and parents feeling a little confused or wondering what the... happened on that campus. Seriously, what’s up with that school?

    Here are a few of my personal favorites…

    Campus  Housing Rule #1
    Your refrigerator must not exceed hip height. 

    “Really? Whose hip? Mine, my two year old nephew's, or Shaq’s?”

    Campus Housing Rule #2
    No firearms are permitted in the residence halls except during hunting season. 

    “I am at a loss for words on this one. Somehow knowing that ammunition is not allowed in the residence halls doesn't give me much comfort.”

    Campus Housing Rule #3
    Students are permitted one primarily caged, non-venomous pet per room. 

    “So, whose pet got loose? What was it? And most importantly, did they catch it? How big can my cage be? Can I bring my boa constrictor?"

    Campus Housing Rule #4
    Pets are not permitted in the residence halls with the exception of freshwater, non-flesh eating varieties.

    “That’s a relief! I can bring my pet duck.”

    Campus Housing Rule #5
    Residents can bring in personal furniture, except for water beds, mattresses, bed frames, box springs and loft kits, as long as it sufficiently fits in the room in which it is placed, is not seen as a safety hazard, and all roommates are in agreement with it.


    Campus Housing Rule #6
    Alcohol is not permitted in the residence halls unless it is during an official, school-sponsored party. 

    “What constitutes a school sponsored party? My parents would freak!”

    Campus Housing Rule #7
    No livestock is permitted in campus buildings.

    “I’m wondering whose live mascot they stole and how they got it past the RA?”

    Campus Housing Rule #8
    You must attend all hall meetings fully clothed.

    “As opposed to…”

    All kidding aside, while some of these rules may seem a little out there, the overwhelming majority are spot on. Regardless, it is important to remember that you must follow ALL of your campus housing rules and regulations.
    Live Dorm Smart!