Housing Policies

Off-Campus Living Policies

Non-married students wishing to live off-campus must meet all of the following criteria:

Exceptions can be made for students who are living at home with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) within a 75-mile radius of campus. For details, see the Housing Exception Policy and application instructions. 

*If a student turns 21 years old or becomes a junior after a semester has begun, they become eligible to move off-campus at the start of the next semester.

Residential Living Policies

The Residential Living Policies apply to all students living in University-owned housing. Southern Virginia students are expected to be familiar with and uphold university standards and policies in order to create a vibrant, safe, and secure living and learning campus community.

The Residential Living Policies are based on the standards of respect for the rights of the individual, the law, property, the university, and the larger community.

When interacting with others, students should show courtesy and consideration, behaving in a manner that demonstrates personal refinement.

Fire Drills, Alarms, and Equipment

To encourage readiness and promote awareness of what to do in case of a fire, fire drills are performed each semester by campus security without prior warning. When a fire alarm sounds, students exit the building calmly and quickly using the routes illustrated on their emergency evacuation plan (posted on or near the front door of their residence). Due to the nature of student schedules, “roll call” will not be conducted during a fire drill, however, in a real fire emergency roll call will occur. If a student is aware of the absence of someone they knew to be in the building this should be reported to their RA, AC, or to a university official immediately.

Fire extinguishers are located in all campus kitchens and residence halls. Questions or concerns about fire safety or use of fire extinguishers can be directed to Campus Security.

Students should activate alarms and fire-related equipment only in actual emergencies. The following actions are considered contrary to the university’s standards of conduct:

Fire Safety

Student safety is of paramount importance to Southern Virginia University. In order to ensure that our students are safe students are asked and encouraged to report unsafe conditions such as broken windows, light fixtures, wall sockets, smoke alarms, and missing fire extinguishers to their RA or AC as soon as they become aware. Because of the risk of fire, students should never have an open flame (including the burning of candles or incense) in campus housing. Halogen lamps, submersible heating coils, hot plates or space heaters are not allowed in university-owned housing (see “Prohibited Items” below). Toaster ovens and personal air conditioners may be allowed in apartments, townhomes, and houses, but are not permitted in individual rooms within the residence halls. Overloading electrical wiring can also pose both a fire and a safety hazard. Fire drills, alarms, and related equipment are a part of the university’s fire safety efforts.

Guests on Campus

Visitors to campus are welcomed and encouraged. Members of the campus community are encouraged to visit and socialize with one another. When that socialization takes place in university-owned housing, out of respect for the residents, the following is expected whether or not both parties are students: members of the opposite gender do not enter bedrooms and members of the same gender enter only upon invitation of the room’s occupant and observance of the university’s standards of conduct.

Parents, siblings, or other non-student individuals are not permitted to stay in campus housing. Hotels are available in Buena Vista and Lexington for those needing accommodations.

Health and Safety Checks

One of the expectations the university has of students living in university-owned housing is that they will maintain their rooms and homes so that they are clean and tidy, both inside and out. Doing so maintains a physically healthy environment for the student, ensures the proper maintenance of student living accommodations, prevents potential damage to the unit from occurring, and extends the life of campus facilities.

In university-owned housing, resident advisors perform health and safety checks on a regular basis but may be done more frequently if requested or needed. These checks are opportunities for the resident advisor to teach students about recommended cleaning methods, provide suggestions on proper care of the unit, check for maintenance and other facility concerns, and answer questions about the fire code and other health and safety guidelines.

Housing and Residence Life Organization

Director of Housing: The director of housing has the responsibility to oversee and assist in the implementation of Southern Virginia’s housing plan for all on-campus and off-campus housing.

Area Coordinator(AC): An Area Coordinator is given responsibility for specific university-owned residential living units in a designated area and they oversee resident advisors living in that area. They work to ensure a positive and safe living and learning community.

Resident Advisor (RA): Resident advisors reside in assigned university-owned housing. Resident advisors assist Area Coordinators in their responsibilities.

Security Officer(s): The Southern Virginia University security officer assists with providing a safe and secure living environment for university students. He/she provides input on evacuation plans and assists with regular “fire drills” as appropriate in coordination with the director of housing and the director of physical facilities. He/she works closely with local law enforcement agencies in addressing concerns involving student conduct off campus.


Keys are issued to students during the check-in process. Students should always know where their key is located. It is strongly encouraged for students to remain in possession of their key and not to lend it to others. However, in the event that a key is lost, the student should report it to their resident advisor as soon as possible. Key replacements come with a $25 key replacement fee. If, when a student checks out of their room, they are unable to or choose not to return their key, a $100 key replacement fee will apply.

Duplication of university keys is prohibited.

Pets & Animals on Campus

Pets are not permitted in on-campus residential living units. Should an animal be discovered to be present in university owned housing the student will be expected to remove the animal promptly. Any repairs to university property that may be required due to the animal’s presence on campus, including cleaning, will be the financial responsibility of the student whose animal it was.

Service animals are permitted in most places on campus and in university owned housing as dictated by the laws.  Service animals do not need to register with The Office of Accessibility Services, and students with a service animal are not required to fill out a form to bring their dog to campus (unless they are living in the dorms). Emotional support animals are only allowed in the student’s residences. They are not permitted to be brought to class, to the dining hall, athletic events, etc. Requests for emotional support animals need to be made by October 15 for the spring semester, April 1 for the late spring term, and May 15 for the fall semester. Students needing to house an emotional support animal should request a packet from The Housing Department ( This applies to all university owned housing. Questions about service animals may be directed to The Office of Accessibility Services ( Questions about emotional support animals may be directed to The Housing Department(


The director of housing and their agents, security officers, and the director of physical facilities and their agents are authorized to enter university-owned residential living units as deemed necessary for the following official reasons: to make needed repairs, for health and safety inspections, to show the room/apartment to a prospective tenant, and in case of an emergency or perceived emergency.

Every effort will be made to respect tenant privacy. This means that the individual will knock before entry and that a reasonable attempt will be made to schedule visits at a reasonable hour when tenants are home whenever possible. An individual’s personal items may be secured and removed from the unit for the following reasons: an emergency, the individual is not authorized to be in Southern Virginia housing, there exists the potential for damage to an individual or the property or the item presents a safety hazard, and in the case of suspected illegal activities.

Single Room Policy

There is a very limited number of private rooms that are available to residents. Receiving a single room is contingent on availability, the student’s class standing, and payment of the private room fee. Returning students will be given preference when assigning single rooms. Single rooms are defined as rooms that are configured for only one occupant.

Students who, through circumstance, end up living in a room by themselves that is configured for more than one person are not considered to be living in a private room. Individuals in this situation should be aware that other students may move into the room with them at a later time. Unless an individual is paying the single room rate, the student is not guaranteed a single room.

Prohibited Items

For the safety of all, the following items are prohibited on university-owned housing properties:

In the Residence Halls:

In the Apartments:

Quiet Hours

Quiet hours are a designated period of time during which students may expect relative quiet from surrounding rooms, lobbies, and hallways. This time is provided to allow for an uninterrupted night’s rest and study and reflection. Campus-wide quiet hours are as follows, however, specific living areas may adapt these hours based on the unique needs and desires of that living community.

Monday – Saturday: 11 p.m. – 7 a.m.
Sunday & Finals Week: 24 hours a day

Resident Check-In

When a student arrives on campus at the beginning of a term they should check-in to their room with their resident advisor or area coordinator. This involves a thorough evaluation of the condition of the room prior to the student moving in along with an overview of general policies and safety procedures for the building in which the student will reside. Keys are also issued at this point. The student then assumes responsibility for their key and their room and recommits to abide by the Standards of Conduct and residential living policies.

Students wishing to check in to university housing prior to the date listed on the academic calendar will need to coordinate with the housing office and agree to the financial fees associated with arriving early. 

Questions about the check-in process should be emailed to

Resident Check-Out

At the conclusion of a student’s occupancy of their room (when they move out of their room), students check out of their room with their resident advisor or area coordinator. This check out should be completed prior to leaving campus. Failure to complete a checkout with housing staff will result in a fine. The checkout process involves a thorough inspection of the condition of the room as compared to when the resident checked-in to the room. All personal belongings should be removed prior to check-out and the room/unit cleaned and returned to the condition it was when the resident checked in. Students are strongly encouraged to follow the checkout cleaning checklist to return the unit to its pre-occupancy condition Key(s) issued to the student are returned to the resident advisor or area coordinator checking them out. Failure to return a key to housing staff will result in a fine. At check out, any damages that may have occurred and cleaning that was not performed will be evaluated and submitted to the physical facilities department for a cost assessment. The student is responsible for these costs.

Items left in residential living units after check-out without prior storage arrangements immediately become the property of Southern Virginia University to be discarded, utilized, or sold.

Students residing in on-campus facilities are expected to check out no later than 6:00 p.m. on the day following the last day of final exams for the fall and summer terms and the day after commencement for the spring term.

Room Changes

When a student wishes to change rooms they should share their desire with their RA. Room changes are approved by the area coordinator of the area the student wishes to move to and the area coordinator of the area that the student currently lives in. Room changes are reviewed by the director of housing.All room changes are subject to room availability and roommate compatibility. At the beginning of a term students that wish to change rooms are asked to allow sufficient time for all students to arrive on campus and check in to housing before requesting a room change (typically this is the end of the first week of classes).

Students changing rooms go through the normal check-out and check-in procedures with their RAs or ACs.

Safety and Security

On campus security is provided by Synergy Security. An officer is on duty and available to assist students twenty-four hours a day and to respond to any safety or security needs that may arise.

Campus security is the responsibility of every member of the campus community. Each student should secure his/her personal valuables at all times. Rooms, apartments, townhomes, and houses should be locked when occupants are not there. Everyone should report suspicious persons, activities, or other circumstances to security and their RA or AC or to some other appropriate campus authority (director of housing, dean of students, etc.).

Spending a Night Away from Campus

When a student occasionally chooses to be at another location overnight, the student should notify their RA (or their AC in the RA’s absence) in case of emergency.

Housing Agreement

This Agreement shall be binding and shall be constructed and interpreted according to the laws of the State of Virginia. All legal disputes shall be adjudicated in the City of Buena Vista, Virginia or Rockbridge County, Virginia.

Duration of Agreement

The duration of this agreement shall commence on the first day of the fall semester and end on the last day of the spring semester unless terminated sooner as herein provided. Students who have not checked in by the first day of classes may lose their room assignment and may have their agreement canceled.

Housing Standards

Resident agrees to conduct himself/herself in accordance with the university’s Code of Honor and to abide by the Housing Policies. The university reserves the right to amend or formulate new or additional policies at any time. Resident agrees that such changes constitute a valid amendment to the housing agreement and agrees to comply with them.

Transfers and Consolidations

The university reserves the right to transfer or consolidate students to a location other than the originally assigned or selected housing space.

Personal Property

The student’s personal property is not covered by any insurance provided by the university. Students living in university housing hereby waive all claims against the university for loss of or damage to clothing, valuables, or other personal property, including money, even if such loss or damage is the result of negligence on the part of the university, its employees, or its agents.

Risk Of Personal Injury

Students agree to release the university from liability for personal injury to the student or the student’s guest, even if such results from the negligence of the university.

Early Termination

If a student has already begun occupancy of a room but leaves before the end of a semester, the student must properly check out with his or her resident advisor.


The university reserves the right to terminate this agreement at its sole discretion and remove the resident from university housing. If termination is sought by the university, the resident will have the obligation for all past and future amounts owed under this agreement.