With the new school year quickly approaching, college freshman and returning students alike are packing to return to campus. This means trips to BB&B and Target and looking through Pinterest to decide what you want your room to look like. However, before you pull out your credit card, be aware that schools across the country ban certain items from the dorms. Here is a list of banned items that UConn and many other universities will not allow, in addition to things you should bring to UConn in their place.
I know, sounds like an odd item to ban. Many people use cinderblocks to hold their door open, but pushing them in and out of place continually will ruin the floors of the dorm room.
Instead, try to find a door stop when out shopping for your room. I bought a rubber one at the UConn bookstore on move-in weekend, and it was one of the best investments I made, and it was cheap too!
Moving into school for the first time can seem intimidating, and most people, myself included, overpack. Talking to your roommate(s) before moving in is crucial for determining who will bring the bigger items, such as a television, fridge, microwave, and printer. Many schools only allow one fridge per room, so communication is key to saving you space, money, and hassle.
3. Homemade Lofts
Your room location on campus will determine how you can set up your beds. Some rooms at UConn have high ceilings where lofting is allowed or encouraged, while others have ceilings that are too low. If the school wants you to loft your bed they will give you the means to do so. Otherwise save the hassle of bringing a premade loft; it is banned for your safety as well.
One solution it to make bunk beds. It gives a significant amount of space, and allows for additional furniture (like a couch) if desired. Although it does not give the same amount of space, you could also invest in bed risers. I bought them after move-in weekend and immediately noticed a difference. I was able to fit my printer on top of my dresser under my bed, and could reach my bins I stacked in the back much easier. My risers even had an outlet and USB connections to use, which is a lifesaver with the lack of outlet space in a room.
4. Water Beds
When you arrive on move-in day there will be certain items given to you by the school, such as dressers, the bed frame and mattress, and a desk and chair. I know the mattresses they supply are rough to sleep on, but it is prohibited to bring a water bed. It could cause water damage if it happened to pop or leak, and you would have to pay the bill.
The most common solution to the stiff mattress is to buy a mattress topper. There are dozens of varieties to choose from, and they come in a wide range of prices, from $30 to $300 if you want one “tempur pedic” style.
5. Private Air Conditioner or Ceiling Fan
Unless you have a disability documented by CSD (thanks to my asthma I’m included here), no window units are allowed in the dorm rooms. Many of the newer residential halls have central air conditioning as well, so bringing a full A/C unit is not necessary. Ceiling fans are also not allowed (in case anyone carries one of those around with them) because there is nowhere to attach it to the ceiling as it is.
However, especially in the first two months of school, it will still be humid and hot. Bringing a fan or fans is your best bet. You can set them up on your desk, in the window sill, on the end of your bed, etc. Propping the door open to get circulation will also help.
This point is self-explanatory, but needs to be said. Once you step on campus you kind-of waive your second amendment right for everyone’s safety and well-being. Hopefully you feel safe enough on campus where you do not feel like you need to have a firearm with you.
7. Drugs and Alcohol
Another point that makes sense, but this mostly applies to underclassmen. I know it’s college and rules may be broken, but you cannot have alcohol in your room if you are under 21 years of age. Feel free to have any kind of energy drink handy, but hold off on the booze in your room.
Hoverboards became the biggest craze last year, but due to their tendency to catch fire many universities across the country banned them from being charged or stored within school-owned buildings. Although they helped people get to class a little faster, safety was the main concern behind this ban.
A good portion of the student body gets around on foot, but many others use bikes, scooters (razors and electric), skateboards, longboards, etc. The buses are pretty reliable as well, depending on where you’re trying to go.
9. Electric Grills & Skillets
Although late night burgers on your own grill or fresh pancakes in the morning sound tempting, these items are not allowed in your room. They are fire hazards and honestly would just take up a lot of room in your already small space.
Your best bet is to go in the dining halls and go with their grilled options, which are usually pretty good depending on where you go.
10. Toaster Ovens & Hot Plates
Sorry, but you won’t be making food like you would at home. Toasters and hot plates also pose a fire risk, and no one wants to be woken up by an alarm at 1AM because your late night pizza rolls burned.
Microwaves, however, are used all the time at school to make our favorites (ramen, mac and cheese, and popcorn). Popcorn poppers are also a permitted appliance for your room, as well as keurigs/coffee pots. If you really need to toast your bagel, head into any dining hall on campus. They all have toasters accessible for anyone to use.
11. Dart Boards
If you get darts stuck in the wall, or if the darts rip off paint chunks, you may be paying a hefty additional fee at the end of the year for damage. This is a reason why many schools do not want students bringing dart boards with them.
Go with other games instead, such as magnetic darts, cards, or cards against humanity. If those don’t interest you, get a television or visit the game rooms located around campus that include pool or ping pong.
Due to allergies and the messes that usually come with animals, fish are the only pets allowed in the UConn residential halls. If you want to bring your fish, however, the most you can have is a 10 gallon tank.
Most will understand the reason for banning candles at college. Anything can happen, and although the walls are usually concrete you can still start fires or set off the alarms.
I got a faux candle as a graduation gift. It was real in the sense that it was made of wax and had a scent, but there was a bulb inside with a timer. These and small lights like these can be found anywhere, including the dollar store. You can also buy a string of lights as an alternative to the gentle candlelight. They are much brighter than candles, which makes the room look nice with the lights off, and they come in different colors and sizes.
14. Nails & Tacks
Due to the walls being concrete and the many layers of paint that line the walls you cannot use nails or tacks to hang anything. Doing so will charge you damage fees that will go on both you and your roommate’s fee bills.
To avoid this, use command strips, command hooks, any other command product you can think of/find, and adhesive (not permanent) putty. My roommate last year used the putty to hang up pictures and it comes off easily when moving or removing items at the end of the year. Command hooks may occasionally fall off the wall and take paint with them, but if you explain it to your RA and reslife they usually don’t have a problem with it. Shit happens and they understand that.
15. Ceiling Decor
The ceilings for many of the dorm rooms are those panel ceilings you see a lot in basements or businesses. Although it is easy to hang posters or signs or lights from them, reslife frowns upon this. They also do not want a tapestry that will take up more than three quarters of the wall for your half of the room. There is plenty of space to hang anything you’d like on the walls, so this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
16. Paint, Borders, Stencils, etc.
You are not allowed to alter the original appearance or color of your UConn dorm. Most dorm room walls are white or tan, so it is essentially a blank canvas for whatever color scheme you would like to do for bedding and decals.
You can add white boards to the wall or door (last year they had whiteboard stickers on most of the doors when you moved in that said Week of Welcome), and you can add stickers/ seasonal decorations to the door as long as they come off easily. The picture included here is a picture of my bed at school where I added the “Be Awesome” wall sticker. I found it at Hobby Lobby, but other craft stores like Michael’s will sell similar wall decals. People also add photos, tapestries, lights, canvases, etc. to make the space feel more homey.
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17. Halogen Lamps
Most people bring LED or eco-friendly bulbs, but halogen bulbs pose risks. They get very hot and have a higher risk of explosion. The best bet would be to check any lamps or light bulbs you buy for school just to make sure. Most stores will sell LED or CFL lamps/bulbs due to colleges banning halogen bulbs, but take caution when stocking up for school.
18. Extension Cords
Extension cords can only plug in one or two things at a time, and they can blow out depending on how much energy is required from what you have plugged in. You can bring multiple power strips, just make sure that they are surge protected. Without power strips, I don’t know how anyone would survive college.