Roommate Road Trip



If you are having a roommate conflict, you might be feel like you’re stuck in traffic.

Residential Life understands that living with new people can be bumpy, include detours, and traffic jams. It is our goal to help you navigate your expectations so that you can have the best trip.

Consider your roommate relationship like a journey-- on move in day, the keys to the car were yours. You and your roommate may have been excited to begin this journey together. You may expect beautiful scenery (clean room), great family meals (late night pizza on the nights), pass the aux cord (listening to the same music at the same volume), and picking up friends on the way (loving each other’s guests).

But… like most road trips, about two hours into the journey someone has to make a pit stop. Just as the semester gets more difficult, the trip gets more difficult. The pressure of getting to the destination (i.e. you and your new bestie having a late night heart-to-heart chat), may weigh down the vehicle. Sometimes you may feel like you’re the only one paying for gas, but consider whether you always need a full tank.

Below is a road map to help tailor your expectations and navigate detours.

Understand that not everyone is looking for a best friend, you can approach these people like co-workers.
It does not have to be personal; everyone comes from different backgrounds and may not understand something that you think is obvious.
Take this online quiz, compliments of, to learn your conflict style. It is okay to reflect before speaking with your roommate, but speaking directly within 48 hours of the situation is important. If 48 hours pass, as Elsa would say, “LET IT GO!“

Emergency Roadside Assistance

Step 1: Set Boundaries

Speak about your preferences, use the roommate agreement form, and talk to your roommate when something is not going right.  w

Step 2: Ask for Help

Ask the Resident Assistant for help having a conversation.

Review the roommate agreement with your RA to see if there are areas that could be improved.

Step 3: Schedule a Meeting

Contact your Complex Director for help with direct communication and learn more about other options.

Last resort: You and the CD might decide that the road trip is over, and a room change is necessary.



Roommate Mediation Process

Roommate disagreements are a normal part of living on campus.  How residents react to the conflicts is what often can cause a larger issue in their room/apartment.  Many students come from diverse backgrounds and family situations, and communicate in different ways.  Residential life utilizes Hammer's (2003) model of intercultural conflict to determine student communication styles while in conflict.  The above content speaks directly to the philosphy of how roommates should treat each other.  However, if roommates can no longer resolve their differences in their room/apartment, they can involve their resident assistant or complex director.  Residential life recognizes that all students may not get along, however there is an expectation that all residents are treated with respect and dignity.  Residential life can mandate roommate mediations and if students choose not to participate, or are disruptive they maybe required to relocate from their room/apartment.  Residential Life has received training from the National Conflict Resolution Center and utilizes a process called the exchange which can be found below.


Students should expect to minimally spend 2 hours meeting with the resident assistants or complex directors to hold the roommate mediation.  All students involved will meet privately with a resident assistant or complex director.  During that meeting the residential life staff member will explain the process, set ground rules for the discussion, and hear the perspective of the student.  The residential life staff will not share direct details of what is shared, however as a staff member they are a mandated reporter for the University and must report any violations that are shared during the private conversations.  Students are expected to positively participate in the process and have positive body language and not curse during either the private meeting or group meeting.  

There will be a short break after students meet privately with residential life staff.  All students involved in the conflict will be brought back to the table.  The staff member will explain the process and ground rules again.  During the mediation, students may be asked to repeat what they have heard from their roommate.  The mediator will identify the common issues in the room/apartment and attempt to have the students develop S.M.A.R.T. goals to resolve those issues. 

Once goals are created, students will have a discussion about how to move foward, and what wil be told to others who may be involved in the conflict but do not live in the room/apartment.  The residential life staff will also schedule a time to check-in with the room/apartment to ensure all students are still living by the agreement determined in the mediation.  A second mediation maybe needed is new problems arise