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Residence Life Philosophy

Eastern Mennonite University is committed to the education of the whole person. Residential institutions of higher education are committed to the perspective that learning happens anytime, anywhere. Some of this learning happens in the classroom; an equally important part of the experience occurs in other settings, including residence halls. In residence halls, students are provided opportunity to develop, learn, and be transformed individually while also building community amongst a group of supportive peers.  The residence experience fosters social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth and development as students learn about themselves and others. The EMU residence life team strives to build a campus community in which students are welcomed and supported, while also challenged and held accountable when necessary.

Residence Life Mission and Vision

Residence Life prioritizes building and enhancing a campus residential community that is welcoming and supportive of all, and that enhances the dignity and well-being of each member. Residence Life envisions creating residential spaces for everyone to be welcomed and valued for who they are; for residents to interact with neighbors they normally wouldn’t; to learn how to live as an individual in community; to be accountable to others in meaningful and active ways; to learn, to grow, to explore, to reflect; to be safe and supported.

Residence Hall Staff Organization

There is a full-time director of residence life, student accountability, and restorative justice, an assistant director of housing and residence life, and two full-time lead residence directors (RDs) that comprise the residence life leadership team.

There is a professional staff member (residence director) living in each residence hall. All residence directors are staff members of the department of housing and residence life and the Student Life division. Residence directors have appropriate educational background and experience and are carefully selected on the basis of their ability to provide leadership and facilitate interpersonal relationships and build community in the residence hall.

Community Advisors (CAs) are student staff members of the residence life staff. There is a CA designated to live on each floor of the residence halls. Each residence hall is divided into units with student community advisors as leaders. CA’s are carefully selected and trained to serve as community builders and facilitators.

Housing Information

Housing for Graduate/Seminary Students

EMU owns a limited number of apartments/suites for graduate/seminary students. For information regarding these housing options, to check availability, or to reserve an EMU-owned apartment, contact Auxiliary Services at 540-432-4662.

Housing Policy (Undergraduate)

Because EMU believes that residence hall living fosters social and emotional development, it is required that all full-time single, undergraduate students live on campus. Exemption may be given to students who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Earn a total of 90 semester hours AND be 21 years of age by September 1 of the academic year in which off-campus housing is requested

  2. Live with a parent or legal guardian within 50 miles of EMU campus.

  3. Need to reserve an apartment due to marriage plans within the semester

  4. Require specialized care as prescribed by a medical doctor.

  5. Are 23 years old by September 1 of the academic year.

Off-campus housing is not approved for students on academic probation, conditional readmission, and student life probationary status.

Students who meet the above criteria OR who believe themselves to have a special circumstance not listed in the above criteria must submit a request for off-campus housing documenting their eligibility during the semester prior to living off campus. Living off-campus without completing the Off-Campus Housing Request Form could result in the student being charged for housing.  The Off Campus Housing Request Form is found at the following link:

Housing Options

EMU makes available a variety of living arrangements in an attempt to meet the developmental and social needs of students. Each residence hall houses men and women separated by floors. One exception to this is Northlawn, 4th floor. The following options are available.

  1. Cedarwood (Cedarwood Living Communities)– houses 120 students; double and triple rooms in a pod setting, groups apply as a group to live in same pod/living community. *Group planning/application required.*

  2. Hillside Suites – houses 84 students in twenty-five 2- or 4- person suites. Eligible students must be 20 years of age or older or be classified as a junior or senior. Application required.*

  3. Maplewood – houses 84 returning students (mostly sophomores or juniors); double rooms, a 6-person suite, and 4 designated single rooms (2 each on 2nd and 3rd floors).

  4. Elmwood – houses 84 first year students (4) single rooms and double rooms..

  5. Northlawn – houses 180 first year students in single rooms and double rooms; dining room on ground level. *NL 4th - pre-professional floor for seniors (and some juniors in special situations), single rooms and two suites (up to 4 students); Application required for 4th floor.*

  6. Parkwoods Apartments – houses 90 students in two bedroom furnished apartments. Eligible students must be 20 years of age or older or be classified as a junior or senior.  Application required.*

  7. Group Houses - 2-3 houses available for 5-8 students upon request/proposal during spring semester prior year, must be 20 years of age or older and be classified as a junior or senior. Proposal required.*

*EMU reserves the right to take prior student life and residence life violations into consideration when reviewing applications and proposals for Cedarwood Living Communities, Hillside Suites, Parkwoods Apartments, and Group Houses.

Single Rooms and Room Consolidation

There are a limited number of rooms on campus that are designated as single rooms (i.e. not having a roommate). Students are only guaranteed single rooms if they are in one of these designated singles. Occasionally, it is possible for students to live alone in a non-designated single room. Students choosing to live alone in a designated double room are charged an additional fee per semester for this privilege.

Room consolidation is a procedure that allows the housing office to provide the maximum amount of space to students in the residence halls. The process affects students who live alone in a double occupancy room which occurs when a roommate does not arrive or withdraws. Students may be required to pay a single room fee (an additional fee per semester), move into another  room, or have another student move in with them. The residence life staff will assist in making decisions about who changes rooms if the students cannot agree. Room consolidation are generally completed by the second week of each semester, or in the case of mid semester changes, by the fifth day after a roommate has left.

Group Housing: When houses are available

This housing opportunity provides an option for six to eight persons to live together in a house.  Students must apply and demonstrate maturity and the ability to live in a group situation. An application, with a full explanation of theme housing, is available from the housing office and students are encouraged to apply late in the fall semester.

Residence Life Procedures

Selection and Assignment of Room/Room Occupancy

Current Students

For current students who are continuing their enrollment into the following year, room selection procedures begin early in the spring each year with the housing lottery. The housing lottery according to their fall classification. The housing lottery is conducted in March each year and is the time when students and roommates may sign up for rooms for the next academic year.

Hillside Suites, Parkwood Apartments, Northlawn 4th floor,, and Group housing require an application. These applications are due in February of each year for the following year. A contract (between the student and the university) is required for these suites, apartments, and houses.

New Students

The director of residence life makes room assignments for new students. This process is completed by July 1 and after that students should be able to see their assigned room and roommate on my.emu in the “Housing” tab. Students are given housing assignments in accordance with their preferences whenever possible. Assignments are made by entering information from the “Housing Questionnaire and Request Form”, completed by all new incoming students on the EMU website. Persons with the most similar responses are assigned as roommates. Late applicants may be assigned on a space-available basis.

The university reserves the right to make housing assignments or to change room assignments whenever this seems in the best interest of the community.

Roommate Assignments for Returning Students

Returning students are responsible for finding their own roommates.  If they have trouble finding a roommate they must notify the assistant director of housing and residence life.  If there are other students needing roommates, this information will be passed along to the returning student.


When checking in to a residence hall at the beginning of the year, each student must report to their community advisor or residence director who issues the room key. The student also completes a room clearance form, indicating the condition of the room and its furnishings and acknowledging receipt of the key.


Each resident must check out in person with the CA in the event of a room change or withdrawal, as well as at the end of the year. The room is inspected according to the check-in form and damages assessed. Any charges are placed on the student’s account. The resident must sign the room clearance form and turn in the room key. Failure to follow the checkout procedure results in a fine. Students are requested to make an appointment in advance with the CA for checkout.  Students need to be checked out by 11:00am on the Saturday after exams, or within 24 hours of their last final, whichever comes first.

Changing Rooms

Student-initiated room changes are not made during the first two weeks of any semester.  The residence director (RD) must authorize all room changes before any move is made. Facilitated roommate dialogue and/or conflict mediation is usually the first step in working with any roommate or suitemate conflict.  Dialogue and/or mediation often results in a renewed commitment to live together. However, in some cases there are irreconcilable differences that necessitate a room change. If, after dialogue/mediation, a room change is necessary, the room change will not incur a fee. Requests to change rooms will only be considered after dialogue/mediation is completed.  Convenience Room changes (room changes that do not follow the above process) will incur a $30 fee charged to the resident’s student account.

Alcohol/Substance Policy re: suites/apartments/houses (Hillside, Parkwoods, Theme houses)

  1. As stated above, multiple prior violations of university alcohol and other drug policy may affect student’s eligibility to live in a suite/apartment.

  2. AOD violations (hosting, underage consumption, misuse as defined by the university) while living in the suite/apartment may result in more significant outcomes for all residents of the suite/apartment.

    1. Hosting outcomes may apply. ($500 fine and/or suspension or extra-curricular suspension)

    2. Multiple incidences may result in loss of suite/apartment.

      1. If loss of suite/apartment, residents will be assigned rooms in traditional halls. No more than 2 of the original residents of that space may live together in any building.

Non-discriminatory Access to University Housing:

Consistent with the university’s commitment to create and sustain an inclusive, supportive, safe, and nondiscriminatory community; Residence Life supports and follows the guidelines and procedures described in the LGBTQIA+ Student Support Policy. When Residence Life Staff is notified of a student who desires to be treated consistent with a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records, the staff will work with the student and the administrative support team to provide reasonable accommodations and access to housing that meets the needs of all parties involved. Residence Life staff will work to protect the privacy and confidentiality of students to the greatest extent possible, while maintaining the commitment to care and support of all students. Requests for accommodations will be processed and addressed as quickly as possible, with consideration for the needs of various parties as well as other logistical considerations.

Residence Hall Closings

Residence halls (except for Hillside Suites, Parkwood Apartments and Group Living Houses) are closed during Christmas vacation and spring break. Students are responsible to make their own off-campus housing arrangements during these times (unless they have made arrangements to live with a friend/teammate in Hillside, Parkwoods, or a Group Living House - these arrangements must be approved by the assistant director of housing and residence life). International students may request assistance from the director of international student services during those times should temporary housing be needed. The student incurs all costs associated with temporary housing arrangements.



Bicycles are not permitted in students’ rooms, hallways, or stairwells of residence halls. They are not to be stored in or near building entrances. Bicycles are not allowed in academic buildings anytime. Bicycle racks and sheds are provided. All stored bicycles should be locked, never leave bicycles unlocked. (For more information on scooters, mopeds, hoverboards, and other personal and/or electric vehicles, see the Electronic Vehicle Policy in the University Policies and Expectations section of the student handbook)


Candles are not permitted to be burned at any time, in any resident housing on campus.

Community Damages

The resident student community shares responsibility for the condition of each residence hall. When damages occur to common areas such as hallways, restrooms, and lounges, individuals are expected to take responsibility for their actions and behavior. However, in situations where this does not occur, the resident community will share expenses for damages at the end of each semester. EMU encourages its residents to hold one another accountable to be good stewards of our facilities and resources.

Community Responsibility

Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to live interdependently as members of a community. This includes respecting the rights of others. Students who disrupt community life or pose a threat to themselves or others may be required to seek professional assistance or lose their housing privilege.

Electrical Appliances

The use of electrical appliances is limited because of safety and circuit-overload factors. Appliances such as lamps (except halogen bulb lamps), hair dryers, curling irons, etc. are permitted in all buildings. Personal air conditioners are not allowed in any residence hall unless the Housing Office grants special permission for health concerns. Microwaves are permitted only in the floor lounges. The use of electrical extension cords is prohibited in residential housing units. Fused powerstrips are permitted, but because they are designed for small amp draw items, they should not be used for multiple larger appliances. Refrigerators that do not exceed 2.5 cubic feet in size or 1 kwh per day in energy consumption and are UL-approved may be used in all residence halls (not more than one per room). Full-size refrigerators are supplied in Hillside and Parkwoods, so additional refrigerators in these spaces are not necessary.


Failure to adhere to residence policies may result in a fine. The following are examples of actions which may result in fines: Failure to attend mandatory meetings in the residence hall, violation of open hours policy, unauthorized duplication of keys, entrance into a residence hall during Christmas vacation or spring break, unapproved entry into a residence hall, raids, possession or use of fireworks, tampering with fire extinguishers, smoking or possessing tobacco, possession or use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, abusing vending or laundry machines, abusing residence hall property, noise violations, unauthorized room changes, inappropriate art and media forms, failure to leave building during a fire drill; climbing on roofs, balconies, side of buildings; unauthorized use of EMU property (furniture), and failure to comply with requests of RDs, or other staff, regarding specific residence hall policies.

Fire Safety

Fire safety in a residence hall is always a concern. Students should not tamper with existing electrical equipment such as lighting, wiring or switches. Prohibited:  possession and/or use of fireworks, tampering with fire safety equipment including ViaRadio/HEARO devices, possession of flammable materials in any quantity, blocking or in any way preventing use of the fire exit doors or residence hall room doors or building hallways. Violators will incur a fine of $500 and may result in additional disciplinary outcomes. All open flames are prohibited in all on campus housing. All persons are required to leave the building during a fire drill. Failure to leave will result in a $50 Fine per incidence.


The possession or use of fireworks will incur a fine and/or additional outcomes, since all fireworks are prohibited on campus as well as in the city of Harrisonburg.


University furniture may not be moved from one room, section or lounge to another without the approval of residence director. Residence hall room furniture may not be moved without approval from the RD. Alterations of any kind to university-owned property are prohibited.

Guest Housing

Adult guests (between the ages of 15-25) may stay overnight in the residence hall when space is available. All guests need to register with the appropriate community advisor and/or residence director. Registration insures guests of three nights of free lodging. A $15 per night fee is charged to guests staying more than three nights. A guest may stay a maximum of one week after permission is granted. The same visitor may only stay 3 nights (or up to a maximum of one week by permission from residence director) per semester. Guests will abide by the same residence hall regulations as residents. A guest failing to comply with regulations and/or otherwise disrupting the life of the residence hall community will be asked to leave.

Inappropriate Material

The standards of conduct  should be followed in the choice of various art and media forms, including choice of music, videos, and posters hung in rooms. No items pertaining to alcoholic beverages or which are sexually provocative or degrading should be displayed in the residence halls, including cans, bottles or posters. A student may be asked to remove items which do not follow community standards.

Inspection of Rooms

The university respects the rights and privacy of students to the greatest extent possible. However, the university reserves the right to have authorized personnel enter a student’s room in cases of emergencies where danger to life, safety, health or property is reasonably feared or there is reasonable cause to believe that EMU policies are being violated. Student permission is not necessary for such search procedures.  Personnel may also randomly check rooms for safety and policy infractions.

In the event that authorized university personnel enter a student’s room/suite/apartment for reasonable cause, there will be two university personnel (most often a Residence Life staff member and a Campus Safety and Security employee) present for any room inspection/search that may take place. Local law enforcement may be called if it is determined (either before or during a room inspection/search) by university personnel that the safety and protection of the university community and its members is better served through law enforcement contact. Law enforcement may also assist in conducting inspections/searches when a violation is known to have been committed.


Students are responsible for the keys to their rooms and the hall floors. If a key is lost during the year, the student must report it to the CA so that a replacement key can be made. There will be a fee for a replacement key.  Any student found with an unauthorized key is subject to disciplinary action.


Residence halls are equipped with kitchenettes for the use of students within that hall. Residents are responsible to keep the kitchen clean and to respect the property of others (food, in particular). Kitchens may be closed or fines levied if these guidelines are not followed. Kitchenware is not provided by the university.

Drink and Snack Machines

Coin-operated vending machines are available in the residence halls. Any mechanical problem should be reported to the Residence Director or to Pioneer College Caterers.

Laundry Machines

Each residence hall is equipped with state-of-the-art laundry machines. Residential EMU students are permitted to use these free facilities. Students who do not live in the residence halls are strictly prohibited from using these machines.


Students are expected to have their ID card and room key with them at all times. If a student resident is locked out of their room, they should contact their CA. The first lockout will not incur a fee for unlocking - second and subsequent lockout incidents will incur a $10 per incident unlocking fee.


Student-owned lofts are not permitted in any on campus residence. For your convenience, furniture provided by EMU in each room can be lofted, bunked or set on the floor as a single bed. Wood platforms or any other structures are not permitted.


The public lounges in the residence halls are to be used for relaxing, socializing, and entertaining visitors and friends. Lounges are considered public areas and therefore respect and consideration of others is necessary. Inappropriate display of affection is not acceptable. Lounge furniture is not to be removed from lounges.

Mandatory Residence Meetings

There a few meetings each semester within each dorm, suite or apartment building that are mandatory for all residents to attend.  Failure to communicate to your CA about attending these meetings/not attending may result in a fine of $25.

Personal Property

Students are responsible for the safekeeping of their property, and no reimbursement from the university can be expected from the loss of such property. Rooms should be kept locked at all times. Students are encouraged to insure their personal property.


Students are not permitted to have pets in the residence hall. The only exception is harmless fish. For further information and university policy on emotional support animals, please see EMU Emotional Support Animal Policy and Procedure.

Quiet Hours

The residence halls are used for studying, sleeping and socializing. A balance of these activities must be maintained so that the needs of individuals on the hall can be met. All residents are expected to refrain from causing any noise or disruption that would infringe on the needs of fellow students to study or sleep during the hours from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. both inside and outside the building areas.  Courtesy hours are in effect throughout the day. Residence life staff reserves the right to confiscate equipment that is disruptive to the community when a student does not respond to requests. Students are asked to be responsive to the needs of others. In the case of excessive noise violations, a $10 per incident fine may be given.

Room Decorating

Room decoration and personalization are encouraged. Several guidelines should be followed, however. Students should not use nails or tacks anywhere in their rooms. Mounting rails are available in some residence halls and should be used for hanging posters and other items. Be aware that tape or other kinds of adhesives may cause wall damage and therefore you would be assessed a damage fee. Talk with your RD should you have any special decorating requests. Painting is not permitted.

Room Decorating Fire Safety

Traditional String Christmas lights may only be used from Thanksgiving break until students leave campus for Christmas Break. UL listed rope LED lights are the only type of rope lights permitted all year long. String lights are not permitted. Extension cords may not be used in conjunction with lights, appliances or any electronic device. Live Christmas trees are not allowed in any resident housing on campus. Any other decorative material (i.e. posters, cloth material, artificial foliage, etc.) shall not exceed 20% of the total aggregate of any one wall within a room or housing unit, 10% for any common hallway wall.


In the case of emergency, call the police (911) or the residence director to determine what appropriate action should be taken. A “security alert” may be posted on all residence floors in the event of a potential threat.

A residence director can be reached 24-hours-a-day by calling the RD on Call Phone at 540-476-4578. EMU campus security can be reached at x4911 or 540-432-4911.

Selling and Soliciting

Students wishing to make sales presentations to individuals or groups on campus need to secure permission from the vice president of finance. Off-campus sales personnel are not permitted to sell to students on campus.  Marketing of credit cards is prohibited.

Skateboards, Scooters, Rollerblades, and Hoverboards

Hoverboards are not permitted on campus at any time. Other alternative modes of transportation that are NOT hand braked, should only be used on asphalt surfaces (i.e. parking lots) at times when there is not high vehicle or pedestrian traffic.


Each residence hall has a limited amount of storage space. Articles stored must be boxed and clearly marked with a university label indicating the name of the owner. Articles remaining after the removal deadline become the property of EMU. The university assumes no responsibility and does not provide insurance or any other financial protection for the personal property stored by students.

A storage fee per item is collected from students storing items in the designated storage areas. The fee is charged to the student’s account.

Students must store items in the residence hall where they will reside the following school year. Students should check with their RD regarding specific storage policies, as they vary according to each residence hall. Storage space is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.


“Open Hours” provide resident students the opportunity for informal interaction and interpersonal growth within the context of the residence hall atmosphere. Additionally, there are social events which can provide students the opportunity to meet other students within a group context. It is expected that students conduct themselves with discretion and respect for the rights of others.

Students are responsible for the conduct of their visitors and guests (both EMU students and non-students) and should insure that behavior occurring in their room is not in violation of the standards of conduct or other EMU policies. Guests who violate policies will be asked to leave campus immediately. Students should leave a room where a violation of policy is occurring to avoid infraction charges. Student residents should be with their guests at all times during the guest’s visit. Guests must register with the appropriate building staff (CA or RD) - see above “Guest Housing.”

EMU undergraduate residential students’ ID cards will provide access to the main entry areas of residential buildings on campus, and to the particular hall where the student resides. Any person who does not live on a hall is considered a visitor or guest. See above for visitor/guest guidelines. 

The following hours have been designated as open for visitation: Sunday-Thursday (noon -11 p.m.) and Friday and Saturday (noon - 1 a.m.) See “Guest Housing” above for more information.