Terms and Conditions
Terms, Conditions, & Regulations: Residence Halls at Penn State Berks
Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of the Housing and Food Service Contract for Undergraduate Residence Halls and Food Service Operations
The University reserves the right to revise or amend the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations at any time without notice.
Please read the following information thoroughly and keep it for reference throughout your stay in University housing.
Special Housing Requests
Campus Meal Plan
Checking Into the Room
Checking Out of the Room
Maintenance of the Room
Policies and Regulations
Safety and Security
Penn State strives to provide a residence environment that is both comfortable and conducive to learning and personal growth. The University assigns housing accommodations without regard to personal characteristics, not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy, or by state or federal authorities. The University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. All students should familiarize themselves with the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of living on campus.
The Housing and Food Service Contract is a legally binding contract and begins when the student accepts the Contract. Students are expected to abide by the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of the Housing and Food Service Contract, which includes assuming financial responsibility for the entire contract period. Residence accommodations are available only on a combined room-and-board basis unless otherwise noted. The Housing and Food Service Contract cannot be transferred or assigned to another student except as outlined at Contract Transfer of Obligation. The Penn State id+ Card provides access to the residence hall security system and the Campus Meal Plan and may be used only by the student to whom it is issued. Failure to pick up the room key or properly check in does not release a student from the Housing and Food Service Contract.
When a student accepts the Housing and Food Service Contract, the student must also submit a $100.00 non-refundable housing deposit or agree that the University can charge the housing deposit to the student's Bursar account if the housing deposit is not on file. The housing deposit will not be refunded if the student decides to not attend the University for the student's admitted contract period. The housing deposit will be retained by the University throughout the contract period that the student resides in University Housing, until the student no longer has a Housing and Food Service Contract on file with the University for future academic periods. The housing deposit will be credited to the student's account within 30 days after the final contract period the student resides on campus ends.
If a student feels that he or she has a significant chronic physical or emotional condition that may impact the assigned housing environment, the student must submit the required documentation by the established deadlines. The student must work with the campus disability services coordinator and have a valid, accepted Housing and Food Services Contract before the required documentation can be submitted. Information and instructions can be found at www.equity.psu.edu/ods/guidelines.asp. If the documentation is received after the deadline date, contract preferences for area, building, Special Living Options, and/or roommate will be reviewed but taken into consideration only if space permits. The determination will supersede any preferences indicated on the Housing and Food Services Contract. If the documentation is received after room assignments are posted, Housing reserves the right to reassign the student to a space that will meet the medical need. This move will accommodate only the student requiring the medical need and not any requested roommate(s). If a student is offered a change to the housing environment, an additional cost may be associated with the resulting assignment or requests.
Questions about this process should be directed to the disability services coordinator in 153 Franco Building or at 610-396-6410.
Temporary Medical Conditions
Room changes for temporary medical conditions are valid only for the academic year in which they are filed. If a student needs to request a Temporary Medical Condition, the student's attending physician must provide the required documentation. Once the medical need is established, the student will be moved to a space that will best accommodate his or her need as long as required, or until the end of the contracted period should the original room assignment be assigned to another student with a Housing and Food Services Contract.
Meningococcal Disease Vaccination
The University is required by state law to maintain Meningococcal Vaccination information for every student who lives on campus. All Penn State students residing in on-campus housing, including all residence halls and apartments, are required to register their Meningococcal Vaccination information with Penn State by completing the online form found at University Health Services. The state law requiring the vaccination is a part of the College and University Student Vaccination Act former Governor Mark Schweiker and the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed in June 2002. The law requires that the student inform the University if the vaccination was received or if an exemption from the immunization requirement is being requested. The vaccination information must be completed prior to check-in; if a student has not submitted the information by check-in, the form will be provided and must be submitted before the student can get their room key. The form needs to be completed only once. More information about Meningococcal disease can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Students must be degree-seeking. Non-degree students may be considered for housing on an individual basis. Students must be in registered status at Berks to reside in University-owned housing. This means the student must have their semester bill paid in full. Students who have not paid their bill will be asked to leave the residence halls. Housing and Food Services will then cancel the current contract and place a financial hold on the student's records until the student pays all charges incurred.
Upper-class students who are attending another Penn State campus or college and are planning a change of campus (COC) to Berks may request a Housing and Food Services Contract through the Online Contract System process during the advertised process. The student must initiate the COC process at his or her current campus. If the COC is not approved, it is the student's responsibility to contact the Housing and Food Services office to cancel the Berks Housing and Food Services Contract. If a student whose University records reflect a campus other than Berks after July 1, his or her room assignment will be held until the COC to Berks is complete. Any student who has not completed the COC by the last day of the second summer session will lose their room assignment and will be placed in space reserved until the COC is approved. The student will then be assigned to either a regular or supplemental room, whichever is available. If the COC to Berks is not approved, and the student does not notify Housing and Food Services before arrival day, the student's contract will be canceled and the student will forfeit the $100 housing deposit.
University Academic Drop
A student who is academically dropped by the University is responsible for notifying the Housing and Food Services office of their status. The student will need to pay any room and board charges incurred during a stay on campus directly to the Housing and Food Services office. If the student becomes reenrolled during the contract period, he or she will be obligated to the remaining portion of the contract.
The Housing and Food Service Contract includes the Campus Meal Plan for students residing in traditional residence halls. All undergraduate students residing in the residence halls are required to purchase the Campus Meal Plan for each semester/session the student is living on campus and pay the total rate for the Campus Meal Plan, based on the level selected. You can find more information about the Campus Meal Plan, as well as other meal plan options, at http://www.hfs.psu.edu/Berks/MealPlan/index.cfm.
Academic Year Meal Plan Level Options
The Campus Meal Plan offers six levels, with varying dining dollars available to purchase meals. When the Housing and Food Service Contract is accepted, the Campus Meal Plan is defaulted to level three. To adjust the level, students can log in to eLiving and select a different level. Levels can be adjusted during the semester until seven days before the end of the semester. Students can change to a higher or lower level and add dining dollars directly to their account online at www.idcard.psu.edu. Any dining dollars remaining at the end of spring semester are forfeited and will not be refunded.
Campus Meal Plan Account Balances
Remaining dining dollars at the end of fall semester will carry over to spring semester if the student has an active Campus Meal Plan. Even if dining dollars are carried over to the next semester, students must still purchase the Campus Meal Plan and pay the total semester board rate for the level selected. Students who have a lot of dining dollars at the end of fall semester should choose a lower plan level for spring semester. Any remaining dining dollars at the end of spring semester are forfeited, and no refunds will be offered.
Transfer of the Campus Meal Plan to Another Student
The Campus Meal Plan cannot be transferred or assigned to another student. The id+ Card is used as the meal access card and may be used only by the student to whom the card is issued.
A student with special dietary requirements (religious, medical, personal, dietary preference, etc.) that our standard menus cannot meet should contact the Housing and Food Services office before accepting the Housing and Food Service Contract. If Housing and Food Services cannot provide reasonable accommodations, the student may be exempted from the Campus Meal Plan for the first year of residency only. Should the student pursue living on campus for subsequent years, the exemption will not apply if the student accepts a Housing and Food Service Contract.
A student who has accepted the Housing and Food Service Contract and later develops a medical condition that requires a special diet may be required to submit medical documentation verified by University Health Services. If the documentation confirms dietary requirements that Housing and Food Services cannot accommodate, the Campus Meal Plan will be canceled for the remaining days of the session/semester, a prorated credit processed, and the student will need to make alternative food arrangements. Students with questions about special diets should contact Housing and Food Services before accepting the Housing and Food Service Contract.
Removing Food or Unauthorized Entry into the Dining Commons
When dining in an all-you-care-to-eat location, takeout options are one piece of hand fruit (apple, orange, or banana) and one ice cream cone. Removing additional food or beverages, dishes, trays, or silverware from the dining room or entering the dining commons without paying for the meal or consuming food in the retail food court area will be considered theft. Theft in the food service operation is a serious issue that will result in disciplinary action by the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police. Further repercussions could include cancellation of the Housing and Food Service Contract. Housing and Food Services reserves the right to examine customers' backpacks or bags when they exit dining facilities. Acts of horseplay, food fights, and inline skates are prohibited. Students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
Meals During Illness
If a student becomes ill and is unable to have meals in the dining facilities, they can request a meal from the Housing and Food Services office.
Check-In and Room Inspection Form
Information about check-in for each semester will be announced in advance through at www.welcomeweek.psu.edu/WelcomeWeek/Berks/index.cfm. Students should plan on arriving on the appropriate scheduled arrival day, unless arrangements have been made for a special group to arrive early.
The student must be present to check in. A parent or other family member may not check in for the student. The student must present his or her Penn State id+ Card or other valid photo identification at check-in to receive a room key. Each student will receive one room key at check-in and will sign in acknowledgement of receiving the room key. Information about the student's mailbox will also be provided.
The student must complete the Room Inspection Form online at www.eLiving.psu.edu within seven days of check-in. The Room Inspection Form is used to identify any damages or missing items in the room, and will be verified after the student checks out of the room. Any damages or missing items not noted will be charged to the student's account.
Unless the student requests an extension of the arrival period in writing to the Housing and Food Services office, the University is not obliged to hold a specific room assignment later than 5:00 p.m. of the first day of classes. Students must accept other available accommodations if they arrive after that time, and will be obligated for full room and board charges if enrolled at the University.
All rooms, regardless of the date or circumstances, should be clean and in good condition at the time of check-out. Students should let the Housing and Food Services office know the date they are checking out and determine a time the room can be inspected.
Any items a student leaves in the room will be handled in accordance with the lost and found policy. For more information about the check-out process and room inspection, go to www.hfs.psu.edu/Berks/Housing/Moving-Out.cfm.
Only students withdrawing from the University are permitted to cancel the Housing and Food Service Contract. If a student leaves the University during the contracted period, the student must notify the Housing and Food Services office of their change of enrollment status before moving out of the room.
University Break Periods
Undergraduate residence halls will be closed during University breaks. Dates of closing and opening will be posted on bulletin boards in the residence halls, and are posted online on the Penn State Academic Calendar and www.hfs.psu.edu/Berks/Housing/Important-Dates.cfm. Room and board rates do not include services during official University breaks. At the end of each semester, residence halls close at 4:00 p.m. on the day following the last scheduled examination for official University courses, as announced by the University Registrar.
Students assigned to supplemental housing will receive a new room assignment when a vacancy is identified in a permanent room. Students living in supplemental housing will be surveyed no later than the first week of October to determine if they wish to remain in supplemental housing. Students who wish to remain in the supplemental room may do so only under the following conditions:
- The occupancy of the supplemental room is equal to or more than 51% of the standard capacity of the room.
- The room is not scheduled for Housing, Residence Life, or general resident use.
When a student completes the survey, they will be able to indicate that they are interested in moving and can identify the buildings and types of rooms that they will accept for assignment. Students will be required to move if they are reassigned a location and room that meets their indicated criteria. Students who indicate interest in moving to permanent space will be assigned as space becomes available – there is no guarantee of a reassignment to a regular room.
It will be assumed that students who do not return the survey want to remain in supplemental housing and will not be reassigned until all students who returned the survey and indicated they wanted to move to a regular room have been reassigned.
Students reassigned before the survey is distributed must accept the reassignment and move within four days.
Moving to a Regular Room During Spring Semester
All students living in a supplemental room at the end of fall semester are expected to participate in the Open Room Change for Spring Semester. Housing and Food Services maintains the right to reassign students to regular rooms, consolidate between supplemental rooms, or adjust the room rate charges of those students assigned to supplemental housing who did not participate in the Open Room Change when space becomes available. Students who are reassigned must move their personal belongings out of the supplemental room at the end of fall semester (before the semester break). Students should contact the Housing and Food Services office to determine if their belongings can be moved directly into the new assignment or into storage. If belongings are not moved, Housing and Food Services may move them and assess a charge to the student. A student may request an exception by contacting the Housing and Food Services office; exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Supplemental Room Charges
When a student is assigned to supplemental housing, they will be charged the supplemental housing rate, which is lower than most room rates of the housing area where the supplemental room is located. Upon reassignment to a regular room, the rate is prorated to the regular room rate based on the date the reassignment was processed. If a student chooses to remain in the supplemental room when a vacancy is available in their building, their account will be charged a prorated regular double room rate for the remainder of the semester.
Direct Room Exchange
A Direct room exchange is a change of assignment with another student of the same gender and may be processed for most types of accommodations. Direct room exchanges must be completed online through www.eLiving.psu.edu. A direct room exchange cannot be processed for students assigned to a medically equipped room due to a medical need, such as air conditioning, unless the change is to a similarly equipped room. A direct room exchange cannot be processed if the student is assigned to a Special Living Option through a Special Living Option Contract, sorority housing, or certain other special housing. Direct room exchanges can be processed only through the 15th week of the semester.
Emergency Room Change
An emergency room change will be arranged only when all other options to resolve differences between roommates have been thoroughly explored. If a student feels that an emergency room change is need, the student must discuss the issue with a Residence Life staff member. If the staff member determines that an emergency exists and space is available, the Residence Life staff member will contact the Housing and Food Services office to process a change in assignment.
A student interested in changing their room assignment for spring semester may do so during the posted time periods beginning in November and continuing through early December. During the posted time periods, students will be informed where to view the list of rooms being vacated for spring semester. Interested students must follow the process outlined for requesting a room change. The Housing and Food Services office will process the change and notify the student when the request is complete.
A student receiving a change of assignment for spring semester must vacate the fall room before the end of fall semester or before leaving for semester break, whichever is first. The student can make arrangements with the Housing and Food Services office for storage during the semester break period if the new assignment is not available before the end of fall semester.
Open Room Change
After the second week of spring semester, depending on room availability, a list of vacancies is posted at the Housing and Food Services office. Room changes are processed on a first-come, first-served basis to an available space in accordance with the policy/instructions provided with the posting. After the open room change period ends and supplemental rooms have been emptied, Housing and Food Services will consolidate vacancies. Upon notification, students who have a vacancy in their room may choose from the following options:
- Space permitting, keep the room for the rest of the semester on a reduced-capacity basis for an additional charge. All students assigned to supplemental living accommodations must be reassigned to permanent living accommodations before such requests will be honored; or
- Process a room change to a vacancy in a similar room (same capacity) with another student of the student's choice; or
- Have their room placed on a list of rooms available for new students or current students whose circumstances warrant a room assignment change to select for assignment. Once a roommate is assigned, the student will not have the option to pay the additional fee and maintain the room in a reduced-capacity manner.
A Housing and Food Service Contract submitted to the University is legally binding and holds the student to the financial obligation of the entire contract period. A student is released from that obligation should the student cancel his or her enrollment with the University. If the contract holder is continuing his or her education at the Berks campus and wishes to be released from the obligation, he or she is required to transfer the contract to another student (see Contract Transfer of Obligation). Students with extreme circumstances will be considered for release on a case-by-case basis. A Contract Release Request form can be obtained from the Housing and Food Services office. These students will be charged a fee equal to 20 percent of their room and base board costs if released before the first day of classes. Cancellations granted after the first day of classes will have charges assessed according to the University's established refund policy. Failure to pick up a key will not release a student from the contract obligation.
A student committed to a Housing and Food Service Contract who wishes to be released from the contract must transfer the obligation to another student. The replacement student must be eligible for on-campus housing and must be an undergraduate student of the same gender. The transfer must be filed and approved by the Housing and Food Services office.
Regulations for Contract Transfer of Obligation
- A replacement may not be a University student who has on file an active contract for space in the residence halls.
- The replacement student must accept assignment to supplemental living accommodations. The replacement student is not given the vacating student's assignment.
- The replacement student must accept the Housing and Food Service Contract and authorize or make a payment to the University for the room and board fees before the vacating student can receive a credit for room and board fees. The Housing and Food Services office will prorate the charges for both students as necessary.
- If the replacement student does not take occupancy or withdraws from the University before taking occupancy, the student initiating the transfer of obligation will resume financial obligation of the contract.
- It is a violation of University policy to sell or attempt to sell a Housing and Food Service Contract. No replacement student shall offer and no transferring student shall accept any form of payment for the transfer of a Housing and Food Service Contract. Any student who is found to have sold or purchased a Housing and Food Service Contract may be subject to a range of sanctions, including contract review and/or termination and disciplinary action.
- In the case where there are limited vacancies, the option of Contract Transfer of Obligation may be suspended without notice.
Practicum, Student Teaching
Your Housing and Food Service Contract requires that you pay 100 percent of room and board charges for the portion of the session/semester you are on campus. If you will be away from campus for a practicum or student teaching assignment, you and your academic department must notify Housing and Food Services in writing two weeks beforehand so you can get room and board credit for the time you are away.
If a student takes a leave of absence or participates in student teaching, internship, practicum, etc., for fall semester and returns as a registered undergraduate student during the contract period, the contract is still active and the student must return to a residence hall. The housing deposit will be retained for spring semester. If a student is on leave of absence for two consecutive semesters, the housing deposit will be credited to the student's account. Any contract submitted thereafter must include another $100 deposit. Students reenrolled after withdrawal will initially be assigned to supplemental housing.
Spring Semester and Summer Session
Spring semester and summer session students who withdraw or take a leave of absence from the University before taking occupancy will have their contracts canceled and $100 housing deposit will be forfeited. The University will retain the $100 housing deposit as liquidated damages.
Withdrawal from School and Approved Release from the Contract after Taking Occupancy
Students who took occupancy of a residence room and then withdrew from the University or were granted a contract release will receive a credit based on a prorated daily refund schedule upon check-out. No room and board base cost refunds are granted after the eighth week of the semester. All unused meal plan funds in excess of $5 remaining at time of withdrawal or approved contract release will be refunded at face value. However, at the end of the spring semester, any unused funds are forfeited and no refund will be given for the base cost. Students withdrawing from the University must vacate their room no more than twenty-four hours after withdrawal from school or approved contract release. Credits will be based on the date the belongings are removed from the room and the key is surrendered, or the effective date of the withdrawal, whichever is later.
Campus Meal Plan Refunds
Refunds for unused dining dollars will not be given at the end of the contracted period. Students are encouraged to monitor their dining dollar balance and modify the meal plan level as necessary. Refunds are not given if a student chooses not to eat in the dining commons or schedules classes that conflict with the meal schedule. All unused dining dollars remaining at the time of withdrawal or approved contract release will be credited at face value. A credit will not be given for an account with less than a $5.00 balance.
The housing deposit is non-refundable for first-year students, and the University will retain the deposit while the student has a valid Housing and Food Service Contract. The housing deposit is carried over year-to-year until the student no longer resides on campus. Once the student no longer has a Housing and Food Service Contract for the subsequent contract period, the housing deposit will be credited to the student's bursar account.
If a student cancels the Housing and Food Service Contract or withdraws from the University without notifying the Housing and Food Services office, the housing deposit will be forfeited for administrative costs. If for any reason a refunded housing deposit is not accepted, negotiated, or other demand made thereof, within one year from the University's initial attempt to return it to student, the student agrees that any remaining housing deposit will be a general gift by the student to the University.
The room rate and Campus Meal Plan base cost will be credited on a prorated daily refund schedule after the student has received an approved Housing and Food Service Contract release or officially withdraws from the University. The refund amount is based on the date of the Housing and Food Service Contract cancellation. The refund will be applied to the student's bursar account and will be refunded less any outstanding charges against the account.
If you have any maintenance needs, problems, or questions about your room or residence hall, contact Housing and Food Services staff. Report maintenance problems to Housing and Food Services in a timely manner: online at www.hfs.psu.edu/Berks/Housing/maintenance-request.cfm or by phone at 610-396-6353.
If you request a repair to something in your room, you can expect the repair to be done during regular business hours. For the safety and security of residents, it may be necessary to reassign the occupants to a different room to perform some types of maintenance.
Maintenance personnel may enter a student room to perform preventative maintenance, needed repairs identified during a room inspection, or an emergency repair. If an employee comes into your room when you're not there, the employee will leave a form stating the time, date, and reasons for entering the room. Although you may ask to schedule an appointment for a repair and we will do our best to accommodate your request, Housing and Food Services determine repair times on a case-by-case basis. You may need to wait until we can send a staff member to complete the repair.
Students are expected to keep their rooms orderly and sanitary; empty trash into the dumpsters outside the residence area; and participate in the recycling program established at the campus. If Housing and Food Services becomes aware of unsanitary conditions resulting from students failing to maintain their rooms, Housing and Food Services will clean the room, the resident(s) will be charged, and the amount will be applied against their student accounts. Depending on how Housing and Food Services and other students are affected by the persistence of disorderly and unsanitary conditions in a student's room, the University reserves the right to cancel the student's contract and to refuse an assignment for future contract periods.
Housing and Food Services staff clean bathrooms in residence area suites regularly.
A room inspection is not a search. Student rooms are inspected during each session/semester and at the time of check-out. Routine inspections will be announced in advance, and you may choose to be there during the inspection. These inspections are conducted 1) to evaluate the condition of the room and furnishings; 2) to identify needed maintenance and repairs; and 3) to check for fire and safety hazards. If damages are noted, the cost for repairs or replacement will be charged to the room resident(s). The University reserves the right to make non-routine, emergency inspections to protect the health and safety of its students. Should Housing and Food Services management find unapproved appliances or objects in the room or notice objects attached to the facilities in an unapproved manner, it will be recorded on a Notice of Room Check form. A copy of this form will be left in your room, and you will be expected to correct the problem. In the case of noncompliance, the University reserves the right to have the items removed at your expense.
Alcohol and Illegal Substances
- The possession or use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all Penn State on-campus undergraduate residence hall buildings for students of any age.
- It is a violation of state law and University policy for a student under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or transport alcoholic beverages. It is unlawful to sell, furnish, and give alcoholic beverages or to permit alcoholic beverages to be sold, furnished, or given to any minor.
- It is against residence hall policy for there to be any tailgating activities in the residential quad areas or residence hall parking lots where alcoholic beverages are being served on any football game or event weekend, including all home football games, Football Eve, Fourth Fest, and the spring Blue and White Weekend. Students tailgating with alcoholic beverages in these defined areas will be confronted and will likely be charged with "open containers in an unauthorized area."
- Residents will be held responsible for activities that occur in their rooms, and will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police if guests are violating the on-campus alcohol policies listed above.
- Failure to comply with the direction given by or the request to present identification to a University official acting in the performance of their duties is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in a referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.
- It is against the Student Code of Conduct to supply false information, such as name, age, etc. to University officials who are acting in the performance of their duties.
It is a violation of state and University policy to illegally possess, use, distribute, manufacture, sell, or be under the influence of other drugs. Students who violate this policy will be referred to the office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police.
It is against residence hall policy for a student to be in a residential area (room, common area, common building, building entryway, or quad area immediately adjacent to the residence halls) and in the presence of an illegal substance. Students who are in the presence of an illegal substance in these areas will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police.
Canvassing and Solicitation
- Canvassing is any effort to influence student opinions, gain support, or promote a particular cause or interest, specifically excluding any solicitation of fundraising as defined by current University policy. Surveys are not considered to be canvassing for purposes of this policy.
- Students, student organizations, residence hall house governments, area governments, and outside interests are eligible to canvass in the residence halls.
- Canvassing may occur door-to-door in individual residence hall buildings, unless restricted by a majority vote of the residents of that building which is held at the beginning of each academic year.
- Canvassing in food service operations is prohibited.
- Canvassing is restricted to the hours of 11:00 a.m. through 11:00 p.m.
- Any canvasser must register with the assistant/associate director of Residence Life or his or her designee, no less than 24 hours prior to the canvass, and must clearly understand all provisions of canvassing regulations before canvassing may begin.
- When contacting residents in their rooms, canvassers must knock before entering, identify themselves, announce their specific purpose, enter an individual room only by the expressed consent of the resident, and leave immediately if the resident so requests. A canvasser who is not a resident of the building in which door-to-door canvassing is taking place must be escorted by a resident of the building at all times.
- Canvassers must abide by all University rules and regulations.
The use of University facilities and/or property for commercial sales activities by individual or non-University organizations is prohibited. University organizations, within limitations established by this policy and other University regulations, and with appropriate approval, may sell materials to support the purpose of the organization.
- A residence hall is a University-owned building that contains rooms assigned to students for sleeping, dressing, studying, and socializing, and that also contains common facilities and areas used by all students assigned to such residence halls, including common means of entering and exiting, common lavatories, common study lounges, common storage areas, and areas used in common for organized educational and social functions.
- Solicitation is the offer of a sale of products or services.
- Except as hereinafter provided, no person (including a student), firm, business entity, charitable organization, religious organization, or other organization may solicit money, sell, or solicit the sale of any product or service anywhere in a residence hall.
- A student assigned to a room in a residence hall may invite a person, firm, business entity, charitable organization, religious organization, or other organization to that student's assigned room to solicit money, sell, or solicit the sale of products or services with that student only. Such solicitation or sale must occur only in the assigned room of the student-inviter. The solicitation of money or the sale or solicitation of a sale of products or services to any other student is prohibited anywhere in the residence hall.
- Registered student organizations and residence hall house governments may solicit money or sell/solicit the sale of products or services in a residence hall in accordance with the regulations governing student organizations found in the Student Guide to General University Policies and Rules, found on the Web at studentaffairs.psu.edu/conduct/policies/.
- Nothing in these regulations shall be deemed to preclude any solicitation or sale by mail, e-mail, telephone, or other communication media.
Decorations and Displays
Advertising of merchandise or services for sale or rent is not permitted in residence halls unless it is for the sale of the personal property of the students living in the residence halls. Special bulletin board space is designated for this service. Advertisements, if posted elsewhere, will be removed.
- Hang pictures, additional bulletin boards, and decorations from picture molding with picture hooks.
- Don't string anything across the room to hang decorations.
- Darts and dart boards are not permitted.
- Do not use tape, adhesives, glue, paste, nails, tacks, staples, and screws on walls, furniture, doors, or other woodwork or glass. You may use poster putty may be used on walls, but any damages resulting from its use and costs for resulting repairs will be your responsibility.
- Painting or papering of rooms or furniture is not permitted.
Students may decorate their room door facing the corridor according to the guidelines that follow. These guidelines are in place to protect doors from unusually harsh wear, eliminate potential fire hazards, and ensure the free movement/access in the corridor. No decorations may be placed on the exterior of the building.
- You may decorate the upper part of your room door above the lock. If the door has louvers, don't put decorations on the louvers.
- Decorations may not project more than one-half inch from the surface of the door. Greeting cards should be fastened shut.
- No decals or stickers are permitted.
- Feel free to hang streamers for special occasions, but please remove them within 24 hours.
- All memo boards, pictures, signs, and posters must be unframed.
- Use only poster putty to hang posters and pictures.
- Use nonflammable materials whenever possible.
- Remove all door decorations before checking out of the room. Damages to the doors, as well as any extra cleaning required, will be the responsibility of the residents and may result in a charge to the student account. Housing and Food Services staff will determine the nature and extent of all damages. Any materials found to be offensive or outside the boundaries of reasonable community expectations will be referred to the area Residence Life staff.
Student room and lounge window decorating and display policy
Students may decorate the windows in their individual residence hall room as well as the windows in their hall lounge according to the guidelines that follow. Adhering to these guidelines will prevent windows from being damaged and eliminate potential safety hazards.
- Put decorations only on the inside window side.
- Decorations must be removable (not permanent). Use only water-based poster paint for painted decorations.
- For emergency reasons, such as in the case of a fire, one-half of the total window space must be transparent.
- Decorations that present health hazards due to weight, possibility of breakage, degree of cleanliness, etc. must be modified and/or removed if deemed necessary by the Housing and Food Services and Residence Life staff in consultation with Environmental Health and Safety staff.
- All decorations must be temporarily removed at the request of the Housing and Food Services staff for regularly scheduled window cleaning.
- Remove all room window decorations before checking out of the room. Damages to the windows, drapes, and/or blinds, as well as any extra cleaning required, will be the responsibility of the residents and may result in a charge to the student account. Housing and Food Services staff will determine the nature and extent of all damages. Any materials found to be offensive or outside the boundaries of reasonable community expectations will be referred to the area Residence Life staff.
Please follow these guidelines for seasonal and holiday decorating.
- Live trees or greens are not permitted due to fire hazard concerns. You may have an artificial tree in approved lounge locations on the upper floors of the building.
- Only room and hallway bulletin boards can be decorated; do not decorate walls or ceilings.
- Candles are never permitted. Students who want to use candles for a religious celebration should work directly with the Housing and Food Services and Residence Life staff to find an appropriate location.
- Do not use plastic or foam materials.
- All decorations must be non-flammable, such as ceramic or glass, decorative 100% aluminum foil wrap, fire-retardant-treated paper, crepe paper, tinsel, ribbon, etc.
- You may use spray-on snow for windows.
- You may use decorative lights in your room, although the University's Energy Conservation Committee encourages students to conserve energy through other types of decorations.
- Remove all holiday decorations before leaving for the semester break.
If you have any questions about these policies, please contact the Housing and Food Services and Residence Life staff.
The residence halls are intended for use by residents of the building and their invited guests. A guest is defined as a person visiting a resident of the residence hall at the resident's invitation. Delivery persons are not considered to be guests for purposes of this policy.
To ease the congestion of the move-in period and to allow roommates the opportunity to discuss what to do about overnight guests in the room, no overnight guests will be allowed in the residence halls until the first day of classes, then only with the permission of the roommate.
The following stipulations relate to all guests:
- The host student is responsible for ensuring that their guests are aware of University and residence hall policies. Guests are responsible for their own actions and for knowledge of University and residence hall regulations. However, hosts may be held accountable for damages committed by their guests, unless the guest can be identified as a University student. Hosts may also be held accountable for their guests' behavior.
- Residents may have guests in their rooms only if there is no objection from their roommate(s).
- Neither room keys nor door access cards will be provided for guests. Residents shouldn't give their keys or Penn State id+ Card to a guest for them to get into the room or the building.
- Students may have an overnight guest in their room for a maximum of three consecutive nights. The University reserves the right to revoke this privilege. Guests may not move from one host's room to another in order to extend their stay in the residence halls.
- Only residents and their invited guests are permitted in the living areas of the building other than the lobby. These areas include individual rooms and floor lounges. Individuals found in the building who are not residents or guests of residents are considered trespassing.
- Guests are to use the appropriate gender restroom/shower facilities.
- All guests must be escorted by a resident of the building at all times. A staff member may confront an individual if they are not recognized as a resident of that building and/or resident of the building is not escorting them.
Students charged with violations of the guest regulation will be subject to University disciplinary action. An unescorted guest who is a student of the University will be subject to University discipline.
Students who need a cot and/or linens should make arrangements at the Housing and Food Services office. Charges for these services should be paid in advance; the deadline for reservations is 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
One of the goals of Housing and Food Services and Residence Life is to provide an atmosphere within the residence halls that is conducive to study and rest. All students should understand that the right of students to study and sleep takes precedence over the right of students to make noise. Quiet hours and courtesy hours have been established and posted in every residence hall.
Courtesy hours are in effect 24 hours a day. At all times, a student's right to study and sleep will be respected. Residents and their guests should lower their voices or the volume of their equipment (music, TV, computer, musical instruments, etc.) if another building resident or a University official asks them to.
Sunday through Thursday: 8:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 1:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Quiet Hours - Honors Environments
Sunday through Thursday: 8:00 p.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: midnight - 10:00 a.m.
During finals week, 24-hour quiet hours are maintained beginning at 8:00 a.m. the day before finals and continuing until the halls close at the end of the semester (except in Schreyer Honors environments, where this begins the Friday before the first day of finals). A proper study atmosphere should be maintained during these established quiet hours. These hours may be extended if more quality study time is needed. Residence life may extend hours in consultation with student government or the residence hall association.
Students are expected to follow these guidelines:
- Electronic sound equipment (radios, TVs, stereos, electronic games, computers, etc.), musical instruments, and room activities should not be heard outside of the room. Please be considerate of your fellow residents.
- Do not direct sound outside through speakers in windows.
- Take the initiative to discuss noise with the offender. If you are bothered by someone else's noise, ask them to turn it down. Any resident who is asked to reduce their volume level should do so out of respect for a fellow student. While RAs/CAs will continue to deal with excessive noise, they can't always be aware of every problem.
- All students and guests should lower their voices when talking in corridors, bathrooms, study lounges, etc., to help maintain a quiet living environment for all residents.
- Don't engage in any sports-like activity within or adjacent to the residence halls. The University has designated playing areas for these activities.
- Residents who persist in creating excessive noise will be subject to disciplinary action through the Office of Residence Life and/or the Office of Student Conduct.
Fire Safety Policies
Candles and Incense
For safety reasons candles, incense, and other flame-emitting articles are prohibited in the residence halls. Only potpourri burners with an enclosed heating element and an automatic shut-off are permitted.
Students can store and prepare food using the University-owned refrigerator/microwave provided in each room (refer to Appliances).
Penn State promotes smoke-free environments by prohibiting smoking in all buildings. This policy is enforced in all University facilities, including residence halls and dining commons. Established "smoking area" maps are posted in each residence hall area.
To comply with state and local fire regulations, fire drills will be conducted in all residence halls once a month. Everyone in the building during the emergency drills must vacate the building according to instructions. Rooms may be checked during fire drills to ensure compliance. Failure to vacate the building will result in disciplinary action.
Fire Safety Equipment
- Fire alarms and fire extinguishers are located on every floor in each building. Student should familiarize themselves with their locations.
- Each residence hall room is equipped with a smoke detector. In rooms where sprinklers have been installed, the smoke detector is monitored by University Police. All other smoke detectors operate independently from the building fire alarm system. The detectors and sprinklers are for students' safety and should not be tampered with at any time.
- Report any problems with the smoke detector/sprinkler system to Housing and Food Services or Residence Life staff immediately.
- Tampering with fire safety equipment is a very serious matter that could jeopardize the safety of many people. Tampering with this equipment at any time, including covering the equipment or dismantling the equipment in your room and discharging a fire extinguisher on a floor, may result in severe disciplinary and/or criminal action, including a loss of residence hall contract.
General Fire Safety Precautions
Students are responsible for taking precautions to prevent fire. Exercise caution and good judgment when using a desk lamp of any kind. Don't put lamps near flammable objects such as curtains, bedspreads, pillows, posters, or clothing. Turn off your lamp when you leave the room. Due to potential fire hazards, University policy prohibits the use of Torchere-style (floor-standing lamps that project light upward) halogen lamps in any University facility.
Facility Safety Policies
Aerials and Antennae
Aerials, masts, satellite dishes, and other short-wave radio transmitting equipment are not allowed in the residence halls because of FCC interference regulations and safety precautions.
- The following electrical appliances are authorized for use in student rooms if the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. label (UL label) is on the appliance: televisions, stereos, coffee makers (with enclosed heating element and automatic shut-off), clocks, fans, hair dryers, hair setters, curling/straightening irons (with automatic shut-off), printers, University-owned refrigerator/microwaves, corn poppers (with enclosed heating element and automatic shut-off), and personal computers. Air purifiers with an appropriate UL label are allowed.
- The following electrical appliances are prohibited: hot plates, toasters, Torchere-style (floor-standing) halogen lamps and lights, immersion heaters, heating coils, ovens, grills (indoor and outdoor), personal microwave ovens, personal refrigerators, and portable air conditioners.
- You may have an iron in your room, but use it only in designated ironing areas.
- If you need multiple outlets, use a grounded 15 amp surge-protected plug-in strip with built-in circuit breaker.
- Air conditioners are not permitted unless approved by the University for a student's documented medical need. The University typically provides all air conditioning units.
- If unapproved items are observed in a room, the student will be asked to remove them from the building. In case of noncompliance, the University reserves the right to have the items removed. The items will be returned to the student for removal from the hall upon request to Housing and Food Services management.
Some residence halls have exterior balconies as part of the architectural façade. Access to them is prohibited at all times.
Elevators are available in some residence halls for student use during arrival and move-out periods. During the academic year, elevators are available only for staff use. Students who need an elevator for medical purposes should contact Housing and Food Services.
Students and guest should refrain from the following behaviors when using an elevator:
- Tampering with or abusing any of the elevator equipment or controls.
- Prying open elevator doors or holding them open by the safety edges.
- Attempting to exit an elevator that is stuck between floors without directions and assistance from elevator technicians or emergency personnel.
- Jumping up and down in the elevator.
- Using the elevator in the event of a fire.
- Engaging in any of the above behaviors may result in a referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.
Residents are prohibited from using furniture other than what has been provided; the only exceptions are beanbag chairs and desk chairs. Residents who bring their own desk chair must keep the University-provided chair in the room.
Dismantling furniture or removing it from a fixed position is prohibited. Lofting of beds, or raising up beds using blocks or other items, is not permitted. Mattresses are to be used on bed frames provided and not on the floor. Residents who want to bunk their beds must contact Housing and Food Services to determine if this is possible; students may not bunk the beds themselves.
Do not remove furniture or furnishings from your room at any time.
The use of other University furniture in an individual student room is not permitted and will lead to referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.
Because of the excessive weight and potential for damage, liquid-filled beds and other liquid-filled furniture items are not permitted.
Routine room inspections of all residence hall rooms may be done periodically to evaluate the condition of the room and furnishings, to identify required maintenance and repairs, and to check for fire and safety hazards. In most cases, students are notified about room inspections in advance.
There are no routine room searches. A room search is conducted only when there is strong reason to believe that room occupants are in serious physical or psychological distress or that the room contains items that are contrary to University regulations (which include federal, state, and local laws). In most cases, an act of misbehavior will precipitate this concern.
Room searches are conducted exclusively by the Residence Life staff. When there is a potential search situation, the area Residence Life staff must obtain approval from the assistant vice president of Housing and Food Services and Residence Life. Approval is given only after the reason for search, the person(s) to search the room, and the object(s) being sought are clarified. Searches are usually conducted in the presence of the student occupants, and only in unusual cases would the room be searched in their absence.
When it is necessary for a member of the Department of University Safety to search a room, the search will be performed according to constitutional and criminal procedures (for instance, if an officer observes articles in plain view from a location where the officer has a right to be, the officer has not conducted a search). If time and circumstances permit, a member of the Residence Life staff will be notified of the impending search. The staff member can provide guidance to the resident of the room against whom any warrant is issued and can act as a witness. Items seized will be taken (as authorized by law) and inventoried, and a receipt listing each article will be given to the owner or left in the room.
Weightlifting equipment is not permitted in individual rooms because of noise and potential damage to the floors.
- To protect draperies and sills and to help conserve heating fuel, close windows when you are not in the room.
- Do not store food or beverages between the window and the screens on the outside ledges.
- Do not remove window screens.
- Do not string antennae or other devices out of windows.
Every residence hall is equipped with an electronic card access and closed-circuit TV system that allows residents access. The system operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access hours may change during the fall arrival period and spring semester closing. Students may enter only their assigned building by swiping their id+ cards in the card reader, located at the front lobby, and – in some halls- at other doors. If for some reason your id+ card fails to unlock the door, you can call your roommate, the staff member on duty, or in an extreme emergency, University Police. If you have pizza or other food delivered, you need to be in the lobby to meet the vendor at the front door. If you want to visit a friend in another residence hall you'll need to let them know so they can meet you at the entrance. Exit doors should not be held open for prolonged periods of time. An alarm at the door will sound and someone will be dispatched to determine if the door has been blocked open. Do not let anyone into your building except your invited guests.
Penn State id+ Card
If your id+ card is lost or stolen, you should do the following:
- Report the card lost at www.idcard.psu.edu to deactivate the card. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is your responsibility to deactivate the lost id+ card. The University is not responsible for any loss or expense resulting from the loss, theft, or misuse of the card.
- Go to the Housing and Food Services office to get a replacement card. You'll need to present another form of identification. The replacement card will be active immediately for some services, such as meal plans and residence hall access. Other services may take up to 72 hours to reactivate. A card replacement fee will be charged to your account or can be paid by cash or check.
Note: Students whose id+ cards are reported lost, misplaced, or stolen will not be allowed access to any dining commons or cash operation using their campus meal plan until they have gotten a replacement card. The id+ card has monetary value and should be treated the same as cash. The University will not be responsible for any value loss due to misuse or fraud.
Safety and Security Tips:
- Do not let strangers enter the residence hall with you.
- Notify the staff member on duty if someone has insisted on entering the hall with you. Get a good description of the person and which way they're going.
- Keep your room locked at all times, even when you're sleeping, and especially when you leave the room or building.
- Report a malfunctioning card access reader or door immediately.
- Meet guests/visitors at the lobby door.
- Do not lend your id+ card or room key to others.
- Report a lost or stolen id+ card immediately.
Report Suspicious Activity Immediately
Suspicious activity includes the following:
- Persons going from room to room trying doorknobs
- Persons loitering at unusual hours and locations
- Persons running (especially if carrying something valuable)
- Persons exhibiting unusual mental, emotional, or physical symptoms
- Persons carrying University property or other items not wrapped
- Open or broken windows or doors
- Unusual noises, screams, cries for help
Some people don't report suspicious activity because they fail to recognize it as suspicious. Others may notice activity but don't call for fear of seeming over-reactive. Still others take it for granted that someone else has called. Students should call immediately about any suspicious activity. Don't worry about bothering staff on duty - that's why they are there. And don't worry about being embarrassed if your suspicions prove unfounded. It's better to act and be safe.
Students play a critical role in maintaining a safe and secure environment. Security staff and systems help, but residents' safety and security really depends on their own behavior. Stay safe, Penn State!
Housing and Food Services provides personal network connections in most residence rooms. Students can access the Penn State computer Internet using their own personal computers. Any student using a personal computer to access the network acknowledges a responsibility to act in accordance with relevant policies, including the following:
- Penn State Policy AD-20
- "Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community," which can be found online at its.psu.edu/about/policies/educom-code.
This policy is agreed to when an access account with the Center for Academic Computing is activated. Violation of policy or law may result in suspension of network access or other information service privileges, disciplinary action, and legal proceedings. Information about the data connection is available from Residential Computing (ResCom), which has a helpdesk on campus or in certain residence areas. More information is available online at www.rescom.psu.edu.
Student use of the network connection is subject to compliance with the Terms and Conditions found online at www.rescom.psu.edu. By registering for or using a network connection, the student agrees to be bound by the Terms and Conditions. Specific information about illegal activity, bandwidth limitations, inappropriate content, personal responsibilities, and other network connection limitations can be found online at www.rescom.psu.edu.
There are no active telephone landlines in student rooms. Students are encouraged to use the courtesy phones located in the residence hall hallways for security and local calls. Upon request, an individual landline may be activated for a specified charge. Interested students should contact their Housing and Food Services office.
Bicycles, In-line Skates, and Skateboards
Keep bicycles in the bicycle racks outside the residence halls. Bicycles are not permitted in student rooms, lounges, laundries, hallways, bathrooms, dining halls, or other public areas. Students may be held responsible for damages. Skateboards are prohibited on campus. In-line skates are not permitted to be worn in the residence halls or dining commons.
- Room occupants will be held responsible for the condition of the room and furnishings and for any damages or losses that may occur during occupancy.
- Individuals identified as responsible for damage, theft, or losses in common areas of the building (such as corridors, elevators, stairwells, recreation rooms, dining commons, study rooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, work rooms, and lounges) will be billed for the cost of repair or replacement. Amounts billed are additional charges under the Housing and Food Service Contract. Residents will be held collectively responsible for damages, theft, or losses in common areas of the building that may occur during occupancy when the individual(s) responsible cannot be identified.
- Residents are solely responsible for removing personal garbage from the residence hall room and putting it in the dumpster. Students are not permitted to put personal garbage in common area receptacles located in the residence area, including lobbies, lounges, hallways, corridors, or bathrooms. Personal garbage placed in these areas will result in a fee applied to all students in the applicable area if the individual is not identified.
- For the purpose of damage, theft, or loss assessment, occupancy includes the date of check-in to the date the student properly checks out of the room. Charges will be applied against the student's account. Residents must pay a damage assessment when billed.
- Residents are not permitted to make damage repairs or arrange for them to be made. In an emergency, Housing and Food Services management staff, an RA, or University Police should be contacted. Any student who leaves the University at the end of the contract period or earlier because of withdrawal from the University or other termination of study, and who fails to return the room key at the time of check-out, will automatically be assessed a charge for lock and key replacement. The amount will be charged against the student's account.
The University is not responsible for loss or damage to occupants' personal property; therefore, each individual is strongly advised to carry personal property insurance.
Gambling in University-owned residence halls, apartments, and commons buildings, which is in violation of federal, state, and local laws, is prohibited. Students involved in gambling-related incidents may face legal and/or disciplinary action.
If you want your mail to be forwarded at the end of the academic year, you will need to update your permanent address in eLion.
Animals of any type are not permitted in residence halls for reasons of sanitation and safety. Tropical fish and goldfish, in one small tank not more than 5 gallons (U.S.), are the only pets permitted.
There is limited storage space for bins and suitcases in student rooms. Storage between spring and fall semesters is not available. The University is not responsible for loss of items placed in storage rooms.
Residence hall students who engage in behavior that violates the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of the Housing and Food Service Contract and/or the Student Code of Conduct will be required to work with the staff of Residence Life and/or Office of Student Conduct to resolve the issue. Outcomes may include, but are not limited to, educational sanctions, contract review, change of housing assignment, contract termination, and disciplinary action. Guidelines and procedures related to this process are available by contacting any Residence Life staff member.
Administrative Contract Cancellations/Room Reassignments
In addition to the foregoing, the University reserves the right to cancel or deny a contract to a student, or to change the assignment of a student, if that student engages in the following conduct:
- Disregards the rights of other residents
- Jeopardizes the safety and/or well-being of him/herself or other residents
- Disrupts the residential environment
- Violates the University rules and policies and/or Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of this contract
The University, at its discretion, may determine whether a student who engages in the conduct mentioned above shall be covered by the preceding provision related to violations or whether the student should have a fair and equitable hearing by the senior director of Residence Life. In the latter case, the student will have the right to appeal to the assistant vice president for Housing, Food Services, and Residence Life, who will retain final authority in such cases.
The University reserves the right to deny or cancel a Housing and Food Service Contract or lease for University-provided housing to an individual whose conduct and/or proven criminal record indicates a potential threat or danger to the University community, including students, faculty, and staff. Any student who is not in registered status will have a financial hold placed on his or her student record for housing and food service charges incurred during the semester. Subsequent contracts will be denied until all financial holds are satisfied.
The University reserves the right to change the assignment of a student in specific locations in the event that (1) the location is needed for other programs or purposes; (2) the student's room is specially equipped to provide for a medical need and such need arises; and/or (3) conditions in a specific location require such reassignment to ensure a proper educational environment or the health and safety of individuals. The student will be given area assignment preference after reassignments are complete.