A Guide for Living Off-Campus
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Office of Student Support Services
022 Student Union
Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Welcome to the Wright State University Community!
Many of our students commute to campus from home or apartments near-by. We hope that this handbook provides you with basic information about Wright State and serves as a resource.
Staff in the Office of Student Support Services, 022 Student Union, (937) 775-3749, help remove barriers to student success, provide information about university policies and procedures, and are available to assist with the resolution of individual student concerns.
We know that you have multiple roles and responsibilities, but we hope you will consider staying on campus sometimes after classes are over to explore and get involved in campus life!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.
The Commuter Student Association or CSA, is a service organization dedicated to helping commuters become an integral part of the campus community and to provide opportunities for commuting students to enjoy campus life.
The Commuter Senator is an elected position in Wright State University’s Student Government promoting the interests and needs of the university’s commuter students.
The Commuter Lounge is located at the Atrium Level of the Student Union. As a commuter student, you may use this area to take a break, study or meet with friends. There is also a small refrigerator and microwave oven at that location.
The Office of Student Support Services knows that it can be difficult to find an apartment. We also know that by giving you some information about the process it will help you when finding a place to live. There are a number of factors to consider when moving to a new apartment, especially if you are a first-time renter. It can be unnerving considering you may be new to the area, moving away from family or friends, and are unsure of where the places and services you may need are located, such as the nearest post office, grocery store, or pharmacy. The following information will help you in the process of finding a new apartment.
There are some basic questions that you will want to ask yourself when you start thinking about moving from where you live now. You should consider the reasons why you want to move because these factors will influence your decisions about the possible choices of new locations.
For example, if you live in a noisy neighborhood or apartment community, think about if the areas you are considering are prone to excessive or loud noise; during what hours, and also what days of the week.
Suggestions to Consider When Finding a Place to Live
- Try to speak with the current students who live in the potential neighborhoods or communities you are thinking about.
- Call the local police department and ask them for police report information because they would be the ones who would have responded to any reported complaints; especially complaints that people may not want to discuss, i.e. apartment managers who are seeking to rent their property out. That does not mean all managers or neighbors will not disclose this information, but it does mean you should investigate an area before committing yourself to it.
Questions to Consider When Moving
Ask yourself what is good about where you live now.
- Is it a residential neighborhood?
- Is it near other college students?
- Is the location convenient for services and stores that you regularly use?
- What is the proximity to campus?
If these factors might affect your decision, then consider them in your search for somewhere new to live.
If so, do not get an apartment that will be a thirty-minute drive from campus if you are accustomed to driving no more than ten or fifteen minutes. Do not get an apartment that is in a quiet community if you like to have a lot of people over on a regular basis or play your music loud. This factor may seem elementary, but in your search, you quickly realize which communities match your life style and habits.
Even if your search for a new place is going well, do not neglect to consider what it will cost you to live in the apartment. Make sure to ask how much the security deposit will be, and whether you will be charged the last month and first month rent at the time of signing your lease. The only way to know is ask. Some landlords want people who rent from them to earn two or three times the monthly rent. Therefore, you should take the initiative and bring copies of the last 3 months of your pay stubs in case they ask for verification of your monthly wages.
If you are a first-time renter, all of this may sound overwhelming,. Take the renting process one step at a time. Be mindful that since you are a first-time renter, and if you have not established credit yet, you may have to ask your parents, or someone else who is willing, to cosign for you.
Here are a few steps to consider when looking for an apartment:
- Talk to friends and family members and tap their renting knowledge and experience.
- Look in newspapers, apartment guides, the internet (including www.apartmentguide.com and www.move.com) and other sources for information. Typically, you will be able to access information about how much they charge per month, the types of utilities included (i.e., what the apartment community will and will not pay for), and floor plans.
- Before you sign any paperwork, check the various places out from top to bottom. Do not be afraid to test the water pressure by turning faucets on and flushing the toilet; look at the window sills for cracks, in the cabinets, and under the sink
- Ask the manager what needs to be done to the apartment before you move in and before signing any paperwork. Get this in writing – have proof of what the manager is willing to have f ixed prior to your move-in date.
- If the apartment manager does not provide you with a room-by-room list to note the condition of the apartment upon your move-in, make one yourself. Sign and date it, and have the manager do the same.
As a renter, you have responsibilities beyond examining the apartment before moving in. Consider purchasing a renter’s insurance policy to go along with the new apartment. If your apartment community does not offer one through an insurance company that they have contracted with, contact different insurance companies to find out which ones offer the best protection that meets your needs.
Speak with a representative to determine what coverage is needed to protect electronics, jewelry, as well as money. It would not hurt to increase the amount of the policy offered by your apartment community if the amount does not adequately cover the value of your electronics or other possessions. Also, if you have paid your Student Legal Services fee, you may have an attorney review your lease with you prior to signing it.
Renters Insurance Tips
- Paying One Lump Sum, Instead of Monthly Payments, Could Save You $...
- Understanding the Claims Process Is Crucial...
- Evaluate the True Value of Your Personal Possessions...
- Keep Your Inventory List Safe and Ready To Grab When Needed...
- Understanding What Your Coverage Actually Covers...
- Getting Paid for Living Expenses if Displaced...
- Understanding Which Type of Coverage is Best to Purchase...
If you have never had a roommate, there are things you need to consider.
First, identify your living and study habits. These can be broken down by a series of questions, some of which you can probably form answers to. Others will take some time, and do consider them, for finding a roommate is a big task. Next, consider the following questions pertaining to your living and study habits.
- When do you normally get up in the morning and go to bed during the week and on the weekends?
- Do you watch a lot of television, what programs? How about listening to music, what music? These questions are important if you are moving in with someone else whose viewing/listening preferences are different from yours.
- Are you an organized person, or do you prefer to pick up your belongings only when it is necessary?
- Do you have expectations that the apartment will be clean and immaculate, or that it looks like someone actually lives there?
- How do you respond to having a lot of people in the apartment, or even having one or two friends over on a regular basis?
- How do you feel about someone who may not be as active as you? For example, are you an active person, or are you more likely to stay at home and relax when you have free time?
- Are you someone who is constantly on the go, whether it is going to school, work, or visiting friends and family?
- What is your attitude about sharing of possessions, whether it is clothes, electronic equipment, music, etc.?
- Do you take your studies seriously?
- How often, and for what length of time do you typically study per day?
- When do you like to study – early morning, middle of the day, evening, or late at night?
- Do you have to study with background noise, or must it be absolutely quiet in order for you to concentrate?
- Where do you study the most: at school, at home (in your bedroom, kitchen, or living room)?
You can ask these questions when you consider having someone move in with you; for example, if you already had a roommate but he or she moved out and you are looking for someone new to take over the available bedroom. It is imperative to ask these questions if you are moving in with someone else. There is nothing worse than moving in with someone or have someone move in with you only to find out that you are incompatible, because your study habits and/or lifestyle are not similar. Another word of caution is necessary if you choose to move in with, or rent to, someone you have never met before. When you’d like to have a roommate, get to know the individual beyond your interview process.
After you chose a roommate or have found a place to live with someone else, develop roommate guidelines. The more descriptive the guidelines, the more likely it will help eliminate confusion about when and what the two of you have decided before moving in together. Respect the rules that have been laid down! As roommates you will have to live together for the next several months.
Once you and/or your roommates have moved into the apartment, remember that you are not the only ones with legal rights. The landlord maintains certain rights of their own. This handbook does not contain all of the landlord’s rights, however you can contact Student Legal Services or a housing advocate office for further information about landlord rights.
Some of the most important landlord rights to remember are:
- The landlord has the right to enter your apartment to fix repairs provided he or she gives a 24 hour notice; this is not applicable in the case of an emergency.
- The landlord has the right to evict a person based on a number of circumstances, such as, but not limited to:
- If the tenant has not paid rent when due or violated major clauses in the lease.
- If the tenant does not report repairs that affect the health and safety of other tenants.
- If the tenant refuses the landlord the right to enter the apartment (see above paragraph).
This is not a complete list, however it covers some of the more common reasons that a landlord would have a right to evict a tenant.
When parking your car on campus remember to practice the following tips:
- Never leave your windows open.
- Always keep your doors locked.
- Always lock valuable items in the trunk or take them with you.
- Keep the inside of your car as clutter free as possible (do not leave textbooks or anything that might give a thief the slightest temptation to break into your vehicle).
- Carry your registration and insurance card with you; never leave valuable documents in your car that could help a thief identify who you are or where you live.
Visit the WSU Police Department website for more safety tips. Your auto insurance company may have more suggestions to offer you as well.
At any time you may feel uncomfortable walking to or from your car, regardless of what time of day it is, contact University Police for a Safet y Es co rt at (937) 775-2111. You can also visit the Safety Escort webpage to find out more about their services. It is better to be cautious than to have regrets later. Furthermore, try to park in areas that are well lit or in lots that are close to buildings or high traffic areas.
There are a number of locations on campus where you can choose to study. Some people decide to study wherever they feel most comfortable, but for those students who want designated areas, please see the list below.
These study lounges are set up with tables and chairs:
- First floor of Millett near the Multicultural Centers
- First floor of Rike Hall
- First floor of Oelman Hall
- First floor of Fawcett Hall
- Student Union
- Dunbar Library
Please check the library schedule, which can be found at www.libraries.wright.edu to determine the hours of operation. Library hours of operation change during finals week and breaks (e.g., during December and over the summer months).
Do you drive to school and think there is nothing on campus for you to do between classes, before, after, or on the weekend?
If you are looking for something to do, look in the Guardian Newspaper each week for a listing of activities.
Even though there are over two hundred clubs and student organizations on campus, not all of them will list their scheduled plans in the student newspaper. In this case, stop by the Office of Student Activities (019 Student Union) and checkout the list of campus organizations and their scheduled activities.
Just as there are activities on campus to participate in during your free time, there are numerous places off campus to spend time if you just need a break from your studies, before, or after class.
Restaurants are plentiful around the campus area to suit your taste in food. While we can not list or advocate any group of restaurants, we encourage you to checkout the Dayton Daily News for area restaurant listings and upcoming events.
Whether you are on campus all day or spend just a few hours on campus weekly, you might find yourself wanting something to eat. Hospitality Services at Wright State has worked hard to meet commuter student’s tastes, budgets, and needs for convenience. There have been many new additions to the already wide variety of dining options.
You may frequent campus dining facilities enough to make placing money on your Wright1 Card a convenient method to pay for food. Take advantage of special Meal Deals offered at both the Hanger and Union Market dining locations.
There are many other eating options located on or near campus to satisfy nearly everyone’s taste. Many of these establishments may close at later hours, providing you with eating options if you happen to be on campus later in the evening.
Check out Hospitality Serv ices for information about the available Commuter Meal Plans. Eat well. Spend less.
Be sure to checkout w ww.dineoncampus.com/wright/ for food options, hours, and locations on campus!
When you first move in with your college roommate (in either an apartment or in the residence community), you may want -- or have -- to set up a roommate agreement or roommate contract. While not usually legally binding, roommate agreements are a great way to make sure you and your college roommate are on the same page about the everyday details that must be managed when you live with someone else. While they may seem like a pain to put together, roommate agreements are a smart idea.
There are a variety of ways you can approach a roommate agreement. Many agreements come as a template and can provide you with general areas and suggested rules. In general, though, you should definitely cover the following topics:
- General stuff (like computer, printers, iPods, X-Boxes, etc.). Is it okay to use each other's stuff ? If so, are some things off limits? What happens if something breaks? If both people are using the same printer, for example, who pays to replace the paper? The ink cartridges? What happens if something gets broken or stolen on somebody else's watch?
- Schedules. What are your schedules like? Is one person a night owl? An early bird? Do you want some quiet time in the morning or when you get done with class after lunch, dinner or before bedtime? Do you want time to hang out with friends in the room?
- Study time. When does each person study? How do they study (quietly? with music? with the TV on?)? Alone? With headphones? With people in the room? What does each person need from the other to make sure they get adequate study time and can keep up in their classes?
- Private time. Let' s be honest: It' s college. You and/or your roommate might very well be dating someone -- and want time alone with him or her. What's the deal with getting time alone in the room? How much is okay? How much advance notice is needed? Are there times when it's not okay (like finals week)? How will you let each other know when not to interrupt?
- Borrowing/Taking/Replacing. It' s practically inevitable not to borrow or take something from your roommate over the course of the year. So who pays for it? Are there rules about borrowing/taking, e.g., it's okay to eat some of my food as long as you leave some for me? Will you have to replace something that you’ve taken or eaten within a certain amount of time? Will there be rules again using or eating someone’s items or food?
- Space. This may sound silly, but think -- and talk -- about space. Do you want your roommate's friends hanging out on your bed while you're gone? At your desk? Do you like your space neat? Clean or Messy? How would you feel if your roommate's clothes started sneaking over to your side of the room? What areas of the space will be kept clean and neat and by whom, when? It’s best to talk about this in advance rather than waiting for your roommate to do something you don't like -- but that you never talked about.
- Visitors. When is it okay to have people hanging out in the r oom? People staying over ? How many people are okay? Who needs what when it comes to visitors, e.g., is a quiet study group okay late at night or should no one be allowed in the room after, say 1 a.m.?
- Noise. Do both of you like the default to be quiet in the room? Music? The TV on as background? What do you need to study? What do you need to sleep? Can someone use ear plugs or headphones? How much noise is too much?
- Food. Can you eat each other's food? Will you share? If so, who buys what? What happens if someone eats the last of an item? What happens if the fridge turns into a science project; who cleans it out? What kinds of food are okay to keep in the room?
- Alcohol. NONE UNDER 21! That’s the rule. If you're under 21 and get caught with alcohol in the room, there can be problems. If you're over 21, who purchases the alcohol? How do you feel about keeping alcohol in the room? When, if at all, is it okay to have people drinking alcohol in the room?
- Clothes. Can you borrow each other's clothes? How much notice is needed? Who has to wash them or dry clean them? How often can you borrow things? What kinds of things can't be borrowed?
If you and your roommate can't quite figure out where to get started or how to come to an agreement on many of these things, don't be afraid to talk to your RA or Student Legal Services to make sure that things are clear from the beginning. After all, it's much easier to say "You ate all my cereal! The rule is you have to replace it within 2 days, so I'm expecting some serious Frosted Flakes back on my desk by Thursday morning!" with a smile than to come home and get mad over your roommate's decision to do something you don't like -- but that you never talked about.
Parking and Transportation Services:
Additional Campus Numbers to Know
Assistance for Renters:
There are three web addresses that are convenient for checking out what goes on at Wright State University, which are listed below: