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A message from Randy Tarkington, senior director of Residential Education

Randy-Tarkington-photoI still remember the anticipation and excitement of moving away to college. A lot of the car ride to campus was spent thinking about having a roommate. Would we get along? Would we become great friends? To this day, I can tell you every college roommate I had—and stories about them. There is nothing like living on a college campus, and nowhere is better than The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt.

I am sure your student has more than a few questions about roommates. Here are some suggestions you could share with them.

Start getting to know your roommate now. Discuss who is bringing what. Space in rooms is valuable, so a little coordination goes a long way.

Establish some rules to live by. They need to discuss study and sleeping habits, visitors in the room and other topics. Good communication goes a long way in all healthy relationships, and that certainly is true for college roommates.

Try to work through any tough times. The automatic answer is not moving to another room—very few students seek roommate changes. If problems persist, your student should talk to the resident adviser (RA) or the area coordinator (AC). The AC can discuss developing a contract or direct them to other campus resources for help. If it is clear the roommate situation is not one that will work, the AC can help with a room change. Vacancies are few, and a new room may mean moving to another house, which most students do not want to do. The fact is that once students move into their room, floor and house, they really like it and want to stay.

I suggest that parents, as much as possible, be good listeners, but let your child resolve their roommate issues. If you need advice, you can always call our office. The area coordinator or an assistant director can offer suggestions. I am also available to you.

The Ingram Commons is a special place. Walk the halls with your child on Move-in Day and meet the students who will be their neighbors. These may very well become friends they will have for the rest of their lives. Meet the RA who lives on the floor. Encourage your student to attend Commons-wide events. Living and learning on campus is a key part of the Vanderbilt experience, and we want it to be a very positive one. We are here to assist you and your child throughout their four years here.

For more information, check out the University Resources and Services Fair, as well as meetings with academic undergraduate deans in the four schools, all after you’ve helped your student move in on Saturday, August 18. We will see you in August!


Randy Tarkington
Senior Director, Residential Education