Residential Campus

The Office of Residential Life is responsible for the administration of and student life in the residence halls on campus at Mount Holyoke. The six professional staff in the Office of Residential Life are responsible for hiring, training and supervising more than 90 student leaders (community assistants and residential fellows) who live in the halls and serve as mentors and resources for the students there. A community assistant (CA) is responsible for every floor and a residential fellow (RF) is responsible for every hall. Residential Life is also responsible for building community in the residence halls through programming and maintaining community standards by addressing policy violations in the halls through restorative practices and the disciplinary process. All roommate conflicts, room changes, room assignments and room lottery processes are addressed through the Office of Residential Life.

Graduate Students are not eligible for on campus housing.

Purpose

To partner with Mount Holyoke College students in creating and engaging in inclusive, compassionate and authentic communities.

Approach

The Office of Residential Life supports the academic mission of the College by providing a residential environment for learning that respects and appreciates individual differences and promotes a sense of community. The office is respectful, supportive and helpful to students as they navigate through their residential experience, even when the answer they receive is disappointing. The office is dedicated to supporting students as they progress through their college years.

Supporting the Be Well Model of the College

  • Healthy Mind: We provide space and opportunities to engage the mind, focus on studies and have healthy dialogue that develops emotionally resilient learners.
  • Healthy Body: We help students find their best self by providing opportunities for active engagement, education on health and wellness, and a home for restorative sleep.
  • Healthy Life: We teach students life skills, such as conflict management, positive confrontation, appreciating differences and thoughtful decision making.
  • Healthy Community: We strive to create vibrant communities where students can learn to understand others, celebrate together and develop healthy friendships.

In-hall Staff

Area Coordinators

The area coordinators (ACs) are professional, full-time, live-in staff. These staff members are responsible for overseeing six to seven residence halls and advising and supervising the hall student staff members who work in their respective halls. The ACs promote and create educational and social programs for residence halls in several areas, such as diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and living and learning. They adjudicate violations of campus policy and participate in the Professional Staff On-call rotation.

Residential Fellows

The residential fellows (RFs) are student staff members who serve as mentors, role models and community builders in the residence halls. RFs are typically in their junior or senior year, have previously served as community assistant, and have the community of the entire residence hall as their focus. As members of the Residential Life staff, RFs serve on department or campus committees, coordinate hall meetings, advise and mentor CAs and assist in initiating programs and activities in the residence hall. RFs work closely with the community assistants to address hall and individual student concerns such as roommate conflicts, personal crises or academic issues. Each RF participates in significant training each year and can provide resource and referral information to all students in the hall.

Community Assistants

The community assistants (CAs) are student staff who serve as peer mentors and coaches to the community living on their floor. There are three to nine CAs in each residence hall, generally one per floor. CAs partner with the residents of each floor to develop a sense of community responsibility for the general welfare of the floor and to develop the floor into a welcoming, inclusive and friendly community. CAs get to know the residents of the floor and work to help them get to know each other. CAs are typically sophomores and juniors, and are trained as peer mentors in community development, conflict management and resolution, programming, academic support, health-related issues and interpersonal skills. Along with these skills, CAs are knowledgeable about campus resources and can provide resource and referral information. Most importantly, CAs are available to each member of the floor for peer support. CAs are selected for their desire to work with other students and create a positive living experience for others.

College Staff Access to Rooms     

College staff (including but not limited to Public Safety & Service, the professional staff on call, Residential Life, Facilities Management and LITS personnel) may enter a student’s room to perform services and maintenance or respond to an emergency. Professional Residential Life staff may enter a student’s room in case of health and safety concerns. 

Occasionally, rooms may have to be entered in a student’s absence to carry out non-requested services or maintenance, or the restoration of heat, water or electricity. In these circumstances, the College will endeavor to leave behind notice of the entry and its time and purpose. 

All student rooms will be regularly inspected during vacations and other scheduled times throughout the year by College Residential Life, custodial, housekeeping or maintenance personnel to inspect for fire, health or safety hazards, liberate confined pets, or to ascertain damage to College property. 

The College reserves the right to escort insurance inspectors, engineers and other officials through the residence halls and to conduct surveys of selected buildings or rooms for the purpose of planning renovations. Advance notice of these inspections will be given whenever possible. 

The College reserves the right to enter a student’s room when necessary for the furtherance of College business, which includes, but is not limited to: inspection for compliance with fire, health and safety regulations, inspection and inventory of College property, maintenance of security, the furtherance of security investigation, and necessary building maintenance.

Emergency Entries

The usual rights of privacy and guarantees against trespass may be suspended in the course of disturbances of the peace, domestic violence, serious criminal incidents, fire alarms, and fires, floods or similar disasters.

Fire officials may enter a student’s room without permission to search for, or to confirm the presence of, a fire or related dangers. Any person, including law enforcement officials, may enter a student’s room without permission to search for, rescue, evacuate or treat fire or disaster victims, or to otherwise save lives or property from destruction.      

In the course of assisting at a fire, disturbance or disaster, police officers may lawfully seize any evidence of a crime they observe in plain view for purposes of prosecution. Being lawfully on the premises, they do not need to obtain a warrant to authorize the seizure. However, a police officer who seeks to enter a student’s room solely to investigate such a report is under legal obligation to obtain consent or a judicial warrant.

Fire officials are responsible for reporting any evidence of a crime they have observed to law enforcement officials.

Furniture and Furniture Removal

Each residential space is equipped with furniture provided by the College. All College-owned furniture must remain in the student’s room. The resident(s) of a room will be charged for any damaged furniture and/or furniture missing from their space. Any request for accommodation must be approved through the Office of AccessAbility Services prior to removal of the furniture.

Golden Pears

Students are responsible for the proper maintenance of the Golden Pears (kitchens) and associated areas of the residence halls. Countertops, cupboards, cutting surfaces, dishwashers, floors, ovens, refrigerators, sinks and stoves must be cleaned at least daily to lessen the risk of food-borne illnesses, and to discourage unwanted bugs and rodents. Failure to keep the kitchen area in proper sanitary condition could result in closing the Golden Pear.

Guest Policy

Student rooms serve multiple purposes and the Office of Residential Life encourages roommates to discuss rest, academic and social expectations within their room. As a residential college, rest and study have priority over entertainment.The guest policy applies to all residential students and is in effect for the fall and spring semesters. No guests are permitted during summer housing, winter break and January Intersession.

Students are allowed to invite guests into the residence halls. The College considers a guest of the campus to be anyone who is not an actively registered Mount Holyoke student. A guest in a residential context is any student who is not a resident of the hall or an assigned occupant in the residence hall room.

Student organizations hoping to have more than 15 guests on any given night must follow the hosting guidelines:

  • Guests must abide by the regulations of the residence hall and the larger College community while they are on campus.
  • If the guest’s conduct offends other residents or breaks policy, or if the frequency of visits becomes problematic, the hosts will be asked to have the guest leave immediately.
  • Any guest without a host will be asked to leave immediately.
  • The host(s) assumes full responsibility for informing their guests of the College policies, procedures and community expectations.
  • The host is held responsible for the behavior of their guests.
  • In instances of inappropriate behavior, this policy will be applied to currently registered Mount Holyoke students.

Overnight Guests

Students are permitted to host guests for overnight stays. The Office of Residential Life asks roommates to discuss and come to an agreement on overnight guests, including overnight visits of other Mount Holyoke students. The overnight provision of the guest policy is intended for short-term visits. Short-term is defined as less than three nights. The overnight provision of the guest policy also applies to students living in apartments, singles and suites as well as students living with roommates. Below are the specific guidelines for overnight visits: 

  • Overnight is considered any stay in the residence hall between the hours of 2 am and 8 am.
  • The actual permitted number of overnight visits should be agreed upon by roommates. The maximum number of overnight visits per semester is 16 per visitor.
  • No overnight guest can stay in residence longer than seven consecutive days. Overnight guests are limited to one seven-consecutive-day stay per semester. 
  • Host and guests cannot sleep in residence hall common rooms, academic spaces or community spaces such as the Community Center.

Hallways

Hallways must always be clear in case of fire. Items found in hallways and stairwells are considered abandoned. A delay in removing items from a hallway will result in their immediate removal and disposal. This includes but is not limited to bicycles, boots, shoes, boxes, trash, suitcases, clothes, umbrellas, beds, furniture, doormats and decorative items. 

Illegal Moves/Room Changes 

Students are not allowed to move into a new room assignment or change rooms with another student without the express permission of the Office of Residential Life. For questions about changing rooms, students should contact the Office of Residential Life. Learn more about room changes.

Keys and OneCards

Each student receives a key to their room when they move into College-provided housing. Keys and OneCards are the property of Mount Holyoke College and are on loan to the student. Keys and OneCards are not to be duplicated, loaned or transferred. For security reasons, each student must keep their room and other doors locked at all times.

If a member of the College staff (Public Safety & Service, Residential Life, Facilities Management, etc.) finds a student room unlocked while attending to routine business in the hall, the staff member will lock the student doors. In addition, each student must carry their keys with them and may not lend them to someone else. Keys must be returned to the Office of Residential Life when students vacate their rooms. There is a fee for failure to return keys. 

Exterior Doors and the OneCard System

Exterior doors to residence halls are locked at all times and may be accessed through the OneCard system. If a OneCard is lost or stolen, students should report it to Public Safety & Service and/or Enterprise Services immediately. To replace a OneCard, students should go to Enterprise Services, located in LITS. Students are not allowed to loan their OneCard to visitors or other students.

Lock Changes, Lockouts and Lost Keys

Lock Changes 

If a student loses their key, they should report it to the Office of Residential Life, which will work with the Department of Facilities Management to change the lock core. This cost for replacement keys and the recore appears on the student’s bill. Replacement costs: 

  • Room key $25
  • Re-core change $75

Lockouts 

Students locked out of their rooms should look for the residential life fellow (RF) or community assistant (CA) in their building. The RF or CA will provide each student with three lockouts per semester. If the student staff is unavailable, or the student has surpassed three lockouts per semester, the student should call Public Safety and Service. Lockouts handled by Public Safety and Service personnel are free. 

Staff is not authorized, under any circumstances, to let anyone into someone else’s room; therefore, a student must show proof of identification (student identification card, driver’s license) prior to entry. If the student has no form of identification at the time, the student will be required to show identification immediately upon entrance to the room. 

Lost Keys 

If a student loses their key, they must report the loss to the Office of Residential Life, who will order a new key from Facilities Management. New keys may be picked up Monday–Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, at the Division of Student Life suite in 205 Blanchard Hall. Students will be billed for the new key through their student bill. Students must show an identification card when picking up a new key.

If a student who has lost their keys suspects that an individual unassociated with the College has them, the student is expected to have the lock of their room changed. This type of incident should be reported to Public Safety and Service.

Animals

For the safety and comfort of all residents, animals are forbidden in College-provided housing at all times, with the exception of service animals, emotional support animals approved through AccessAbility Services, and fish that can be safely and humanely contained in a tank or bowl of 5 gallons or less. 

If a student’s family or friends intend to bring an animal to campus, they must remain outside of the College-provided housing and follow all College policies on walking animals on campus.

Students who would like to have an emotional support animal must be approved for this accommodation by AccessAbility Services before the animal comes on campus. Students seeking to bring a service animal on campus should refer to the Service Animal Policy for specific details and guidelines. Students approved for an emotional support animal must follow the guidelines that are provided in the animal contract that will be signed with AccessAbility Services. Aquarium lights and filters are allowed and must meet Mount Holyoke College’s fire safety guidelines. 

Students are responsible for the well-being of their animals throughout the academic year and break periods. The College will consider other animal species in residence on a case-by-case basis in accordance with federal regulations. Such requests should be made through the Office of AccessAbility Services.

Quiet Hours

Students are expected to be courteous and respectful of one another regarding room noise and activity at all times. Established quiet hours are 10 pm – 8 am from Sunday night to Friday morning and 2 – 10 am from Friday night to Sunday morning. Quiet floors are located on the first, second and third floors of Safford Hall and the fourth and fifth floors of 1837 Hall. These spaces have 24-hour quiet hours with silent hours from 10 pm – 8 am. Outside of quiet hours and courtesy hours, there are 24-hour quiet hours during the examination period, which begins at midnight of the first reading day. Quiet hours can be extended — but not reduced — through voting facilitated by the hall staff.

Residential Community Responsibility 

Students are members of a residence hall and are expected to act responsibly and not to interfere with the rights, comfort or safety of their roommates and other students.

Smoke-Free Residence Halls 

Mount Holyoke College is a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. All residence halls are completely smoke-free spaces. The definition of smoke-free includes the use of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, vaping and electronic cigarettes, tobacco and tobacco products, and any substance burned for the purpose of inhalation. No smoking may take place in any space in these buildings. This includes but is not limited to student rooms, lounge spaces, bathrooms, balconies, porches, and fire escapes. Students caught smoking in the residence halls will be assessed a minimum fee of $50.

See the Residence License Agreement.

Residence Hall Common Area/Lounge Reservation Policy

Mount Holyoke College makes available the opportunity for students to host small, community-friendly events in the common spaces of residence halls, such as hall bonding activities, holiday gatherings, game nights and TV and sports viewing that would not be as comfortable or as enjoyable in a residence hall room. If program or party ambitions are too large for a common space, campus services will be needed, or if bartending will be part of the event, students can talk with the Office of Student Involvement about other options on campus.

All individual student-planned events, other than these smaller in-hall happenings, must register through the Office of Student Involvement with an Event Registration Form (ERF).

All registered student organization-planned events, even those through the Common Space Reservations, must register through the Office of Student Involvement using the ERF, unless the intention is for a meeting of 35 people or fewer. The ERF must be submitted at least 14 days in advance; therefore, a Common Space request should be submitted at minimum 16 days in advance. 

Spaces are reservable by individuals or student organizations for meetings, rehearsals, study groups and so on, but they are not intended for weekly/regular reservations so that the space remains available for more varied usage. If regular weekly meeting space is needed, students may consider a room on campus and use the Request a Space page to reserve it.

Common space requests will be approved if the space is available and the request meets the listed criteria

After reading and understanding the guidelines, students should complete the Common Space Reservation Request form. Students should allow two business days for the desired building’s area coordinator to process the request.

Learn more about event planning.

Space request approval criteria

  1. Two Mount Holyoke residents must sign on as the responsible hosts. At least one of the hosts must be a resident of the hall in which the event is being held. 
  2. All events must adhere to College, state and municipal fire safety standards.
  3. Based on risk management review and in line with best practices and policies at peer institutions, no alcohol may be served or consumed in any campus venue unless compliance with Mount Holyoke College policies and state and federal laws can reasonably be assured. Alcohol service by students to students in Residence Hall common areas does not meet this standard and cannot be responsibly approved. Students seeking to host social events with alcohol service may do so by registering their event with the Office of Student Involvement where provisions can be made for College-employed TIPS-trained bartenders to offer beer and/or wine service to those of legal age with proper identification in a licensed campus facility.
  4. The hosts are also responsible to inform all guests of Mount Holyoke College policies and community standards and must actively work to uphold these standards.
  5. Common Space event reservations cannot be approved during quiet hours (this includes daily quiet hours as well as 24-hour quiet hours during final exams).
  6. Weekday gatherings must end by the time quiet hours begin, typically 10 pm Weekend gatherings must end by 1 am, at which point guests must be dispersed, food and beverage service stopped, music turned off and cleanup begun. Cleanup can continue past 1 am as necessary.
  7. Hosts are responsible for not exceeding the 50-person maximum (inclusive of the hosts and others helping to make the event happen). Use of posts on Facebook or room doors or yelling “I’m having a party” down the hallway might make this harder for hosts to comply. If more than 50 attendees (including random people) arrive, it is the hosts’ responsibility to disperse them until the total attendance is under 50, or to shut the event down if the 50-person maximum capacity cannot be maintained. Hosts must be diligent in watching the capacity at all times.
  8. Hosts must plan finances ahead of time. Hosts cannot charge guests for admission, food, entertainment or beverages.
  9. Music must be played at a reasonable level to maintain a considerate environment in the hall and neighboring halls.
  10. For the duration of the event and cleanup period, both hosts are responsible for upholding all College policies and laws. Hosts may also be held responsible for any property damage in the hall caused by any attendee.
  11. The hosts are responsible for event cleanup and for restoring the common room to its original condition.
  12. Residence hall kitchens (known as “Golden Pears”) are not reservable.
  13. Events that do not adhere to the Common Space Reservation guidelines and/or policies will be shut down by any member of the Public Safety and Service, the Residential Life professional or student staff, the professional staff on call, or other College administrators or staff.
  14. Any violation of policies in conjunction with a gathering can result in sanctions against the hosts as individuals, in addition to other noncompliant individuals.

Right to Assign/Reassign Student Room Placement

The College, through the Office of Residential Life, reserves the right to assign any vacancy in College-owned housing at any time and/or to reassign any student at any time. The College reserves the right to relocate housing assignments as deemed necessary. This includes relocating a student to another room/hall or assigning a new roommate to any open housing space. 

Roof and Porch Access 

For safety reasons, students are not permitted on the balconies — excluding the Dickinson balconies — or roofs of Mount Holyoke College buildings, including residence halls. Damage to the roofs, unknown structural integrity problems and missing guardrails and handrails make climbing or walking out on roofs very hazardous. Excluding Dickinson House, no rooms have private outdoor spaces or balconies.  

Searches by Law Enforcement Officials

Nothing in the legal relationship between the College and the student gives the College authority to consent on students’ behalf to the search of a student’s room, vehicle or other possessions by law enforcement officials.

The College will advise law enforcement officials that they must obtain the student’s permission or a judicial search warrant for permission to search a student’s room, vehicle or other possessions. 

(Note: Law enforcement search warrants must be based on probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and that evidence of that crime is in the place to be searched. Law enforcement officials do not have to have reason to believe that the occupants of a particular room, or the possessors of a vehicle or trunk, have committed the crime under investigation.) 

Law enforcement officials who have a valid search warrant are required to show it to the occupant of the room if the occupant is present. Law enforcement authorities have the authority to use whatever physical force is necessary to execute the warrant. Questions about the validity of the search warrant should be reserved for the courts. 

In exigent circumstances (such as an immediate situation where there is insufficient time to obtain a search warrant and where evidence would be destroyed by the delay), particularly with motor vehicles, law enforcement officers operating on probable cause may not need a search warrant. 

The Public Safety & Service department is responsible for the coordination of all searches and seizures by public officials and outside law enforcement on the Mount Holyoke College campus.

Roommates’ Rights and Responsibilities Connected to Privacy and Inspection

Students may incur legal liabilities as a result of actions taken by their roommate(s). Roommates who tolerate the commission or evidence of a crime (including illegal drugs) in their rooms open themselves to the possibility that all of their private possessions in that room may be searched pursuant to a warrant, even though they are not suspects, and that they may be prosecuted for any stolen goods or prohibited substances found therein. 

Roommates may authorize law enforcement officers, official inspectors or anyone else to enter rooms shared in common and a successful prosecution may follow from the observation of the evidence of a crime in plain view. However, a roommate may not waive another student’s right to the privacy of a desk, bureau, closet, trunk or other presumptively private container not shared in common. A judicial warrant is required to search closed containers.

Statement on Privacy and Room Inspections

Residential Life and Facilities Management assess the condition of each room at the beginning of the academic year. This assessment indicates the physical state of the room and all of its contents at the time of the student’s arrival. Any missing furniture or change in the state of the room or its facilities beyond reasonable wear will be billed to the student. Students will be charged for the actual labor of a major repair and replacement costs of furniture. A $100 cleaning fee is assessed if any personal belongings or trash is left behind in the residence hall room when students vacate the space. Any painting of student rooms or College furnishings is prohibited. There will be a minimum fee of $400 for any painting in a student room or on College furnishings.

Residential Life staff and Facilities Management staff inspect rooms periodically to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations. Another inspection takes place after students leave. Students will be notified in advance of these inspections. 

In addition, South Hadley departments of public health, public safety, and fire may send inspectors to conduct routine inspections of residence halls, including student rooms, bathrooms and common areas, and storage areas. These inspections may result in College sanctions for any student who is responsible for violations of College policy. 

Routine inspections are scheduled in advance and generally occur during the College business day (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.). Inspectors will provide a minimum notice of 24 hours. Inspectors are escorted by a Mount Holyoke College employee. To inspect an occupied student room, the inspector must present the appropriate credentials and request permission from an occupant before inspecting. 

If permission for a scheduled inspection is denied and the occupant refuses to arrange a convenient time for the inspection, the inspector may obtain a court order permitting entry without the occupant’s permission. 

These inspections are limited to the purposes for which they are authorized and should not involve examining any desk, bureau, trunk or other presumptively private container. Closets may be searched for illegal heating devices. 

If an inspector should see evidence of a crime in plain view, the inspector has the responsibility to report the observation to law enforcement authorities. At Mount Holyoke College, these reports can be forwarded to Public Safety & Service. 

To ensure the health and safety of the community, emergency and/or safety inspections can occur at any time without notice.

Trunk Rooms and Storage in the Area

The College provides storage to active students during the academic year. There is a trunk room in each residence hall to provide storage to students during the academic year. The trunk room is intended for academic-year storage only. The Mount Holyoke College academic year begins with the opening of school in September, and ends with the closing of the residence halls for the underclass students in May. The trunk room is designed to provide space for boxes, suitcases and those few extra items students bring from home but realize they do not need. Trunk rooms are only large enough for students to store a few belongings. Room furniture, upholstered/overstuffed furniture, bikes and items stored in open containers pose fire risks to the community and are prohibited from the trunk rooms. If these items are found in a trunk room, they will be removed and disposed of immediately. 

At the end of each academic semester, Facilities Management staff goes through the trunk rooms and removes abandoned items and unsafe items. Students store belongings at their own risk. The College is not responsible for protecting or securing items stored in trunk rooms. The College is not responsible for anything stored in the trunk rooms. Items may be inadvertently removed and discarded, misplaced, stolen or subject to other accidental damage or loss. The College strongly encourages students to make off-campus arrangements. 

To obtain access to the trunk room, please contact the residential fellow. Public Safety & Service, Facilities Management and the Office of Residential Life will not unlock trunk rooms. The trunk room is a locked but unsecured area. Access is available to any student or staff member affiliated with the College. Many trunk rooms are located in residence hall basements and subject to moisture and climate changes. 

At the closing of spring semester or upon any extended separation from the College (medical leave, withdrawal, graduation, etc.) students must take belongings home or locate an off-campus storage facility.

Storage guidelines and summer storage

Storage guidelines

Items stored in trunk rooms must be clearly marked with name, class year and date of storage. 

Note: All items must be in a closed or sealed container. Open crates, bags of any kind and open boxes are not allowed. Anything improperly stored will be discarded. 

What types of items can be stored?

  • Luggage and trunks 
  • Plastic storage bins with lids 
  • Refrigerators and microwaves 
  • Rugs (must be rolled, tied and labeled) 

What types of items cannot be stored?

  • Furniture of any kind, futon frames, etc. 
  • Items stored in large travel bags or garbage bags  
  • Crates or boxes with no lids 
  • Bikes 
  • Floor lamps 
  • Flammable or hazardous materials

Summer Storage

There is absolutely no storage available during the summer months. Students must take their belongings home during the summer months or locate an off-campus storage facility. Any items found in trunk rooms during the summer months will be discarded. Graduating seniors must remove all belongings from the trunk rooms immediately following graduation. After graduation, any items remaining in the trunk room belonging to graduated seniors will be removed and disposed of.

Vandalism

Vandalism is defined as any intentional behavior that causes destruction of College and/or private property. Students are expected to refrain from behavior that can damage their residence or the belongings of others, including any College property. In addition, students are responsible for the behavior of their guests and will be held accountable for their actions. Students will be billed for the costs of any vandalism that they cause or that may be caused by their guests, and may face additional sanctions. In the event the cause of any loss or damage to the residence hall, its common areas, furnishings or fixtures cannot be determined after reasonable investigation by the College, the cost of such loss or damage shall be prorated to each student assigned to the residence hall (or room, suite, where appropriate) regardless of whether such student was present in the residence hall at the time of such loss or damage.