Bookmark and Share

Be a Helpful Parent and Family Member

Help your student become independent

Going away to college is often the first step in your student’s life toward becoming independent.  It can be hard to watch them struggle and make mistakes without stepping in to help.  There are many ways that you can help your student while encouraging independence and self sufficiency.  Here are some of our suggestions:


Who can my student talk to in their residence hall?

Your student has a resident assistant (RA) assigned to their floor.  They are students that are trained to help your student transition, community building, conflict mediation, and in emergency/crisis procedures.  If your student is having a difficult time transitioning, doesn’t know where to go to get involved on campus, or has any questions they can talk to their RA!

Your student has a residence hall director (RHD) or hall manager (HM) that serves as the administrator of the building.  RHDs are full time, live-in professionals that have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and HMs are part time live-in professionals that have a Bachelor’s degree and are working toward their Master’s.  They have daily office hours Monday-Friday and are available by appointment if the office hours do not fit into your student’s schedule. If your student has any concerns about the residence hall or needs to ask questions or to talk, they can talk to their RHD!

Who can my student talk to on campus?

There are many other services that your student can take advantage of if they have an issue or concern.

  • Counseling Services
  • Health Services
  • Career Services
  • Academic Support and Achievement Program (ASAP)
  • Multicultural Life
  • Student Conduct

Where does my student receive important information?

All College correspondences occur via their SUNY Cortland e-mail account, through myRedDragon, and through their on-campus mailbox.  Please encourage your student to check all three of these on a daily basis to receive important information regarding Financial Aid, important dates, and deadlines.

What if my student is not getting along with their roommate? Can they get a room change?

After your student has been here for a month they will fill out a Roommate Agreement Form with their roommate.  This is a time where they can talk to their roommate about study and sleep habits, guests, and sharing items.  Please encourage your student to be as honest as possible with their roommate.

If a conflict arises between your student and their roommate, encourage them to talk to their roommate about the concern—many times the roommate isn’t even aware that they are doing something that is a concern!

If the conflict continues, encourage your student to first seek out the RA on their floor.  Your student’s RA is trained in conflict-mediation and will set up a time to meet with your student and their roommate to talk through the concern and reach a compromise. Encourage your student to keep their RA apprised to the situation.

Room changes as a result of roommate conflict are not common.  Please encourage your student to keep an open mind through the mediation process and to remember that they need to be flexible and willing to compromise too.

My student would like furniture added/removed from their room or they are having other maintenance problems (no heat, leaking plumbing, no power to electrical outlets, blown light bulb). What can they do?

The RHD can submit a work order.

  • Your student should contact their RHD with their request.  If they e-mail their RHD, they should include their room number, the work request (what is the issue?), and times that they are available.
  • If the problem needs immediate attention, your student should find any RA or the RHD.  The staff member will call in the work request to be fixed immediately.