- Mediation services to resolve interpersonal conflict in a safe, neutral environment
- Psychoeducational programming for students on issues including but not limited to: improving communication skills, stress management, resolving conflict, diversity training, college adjustment and healthy and responsible living
- Canvas course in residential living
- Assist Resident Assistants and Community Directors to develop residential programs
- Collaborate with campus partners to create student programming that strengthens the campus community
What is Mediation?
- takes place in a neutral environment that encourages open communication between students.
- increases students’ sense of personal responsibility.
- provides education regarding skills, which will be beneficial to interpersonal relationships for the rest of your life.
- addresses interpersonal conflicts escalating to aggressive or bullying behavior
- increases understanding of other’s perspectives and ability to listen effectively
- promotes reframing of negative behavior and promotes positive alternatives
- is not counseling
The Mediation Resource Center offers programs based upon your needs. We offer programs on a variety of topics, such as managing stress, effective communication, assertiveness training and much more! We welcome your personal requests.
The Mediation Process
Trained mediators facilitate a transformative mediation process to:
- Encourage face-to-face dialogue.
- Discuss concerns and issues.
- Build understanding.
- Search for collaborative solutions.
Steps to Conflict Resolution
- Know yourself and take care of yourself.
- Be prepared to listen.
- Find a neutral and private space.
- Assert your needs clearly and specifically.
- Approach problem-solving with flexibility.
- Build an agreement that works – implement and evaluate.
Referring Residents: A Working Relationship Between CAs and the MRC
When to Refer:
- When you have already tried to mediate and no resolution was found.
- When issues have escalated.
- When you do not feel you can handle the conflict.
- When you think it would be beneficial for students to work on communication skills.
- As preventative resource for early disputes.
- CA meets with resident(s).
- CA informs CD of the roommate situation and their concerns.
- CD refers the roommate(s) to the MRC using the referral form.
- CD emails the resident(s) involved about their referral to the MRC and forwards the email to the MRC.
- The resident(s) have 72 hours to contact the MRC before we contact them.
How to Follow up:
- The MRC will update your CD regarding the students’ progress.
- Check in with your CD and resident(s) to check on their progress.
- Don’t assume you will share toiletries with your roommate without discussing it first even if the item is a “share” item (i.e. toilet paper).
- Don’t assume your roommate will want to share food/ water with you.
- Don’t assume it is okay to borrow your roommate’s clothing without asking.
- Don’t assume your music is low enough for your roommate’s liking.
- Don’t assume that your boyfriend/ girlfriend can spend the night over without discussing it with your roommate.
- Don’t assume your roommate will clean without discussing a cleaning schedule.
- Don’t assume you have the same definition of clean with your roommate.
- Don’t assume your roommate is asleep.
- Don’t assume its okay for your significant other to hang around the room when you’re not there.
- Don’t assume that because you like the room warm so does your roommate.
- Don’t assume your roommate is as comfortable as you are with your body. (Cover up)
- Don’t assume your roommate is going to be your best friend.
- Don’t assume that by not speaking up about issues in the room you’re protecting your relationship with your roommate.
- Don’t assume that because your roommate is from a different culture or background you will not have anything in common
- Don’t assume that just because you’re living with someone in the same room you’re getting along.
- Don’t assume that while living in a 4 person suite that just because you get along with one of the roommates you will get along with the others.
- Don’t assume that just because you are living with your best friend you’re never going to have problems (Talk to each other)
- Don’t assume that because you are an early bird your roommate should be one too. (Snooze and alarm considerations)
- Don’t assume that your roommate is going to take the time to understand where you’re coming from. (Sit down and talk)
- Don’t assume that just because you like to go out your roommate does as well.
- Don’t assume that when a roommate problem arises your parents are around the corner to help. (Solve you own problems)
- Don’t assume that because you are depressed or mad about school you have the right to take it out on your roommate. (How would you feel if it happened to you)
- Don’t assume that its fine when your friends come over and make sly comments about your roommate. (How would you feel if it happened to you)
- Don’t assume that just because you like staying awake until 3 in the morning your roommate does too. (Be considerate)
- Don’t assume that your roommate has the same experiences and values as you do.
Living With Someone Else is a Life Skill
Sometimes, students who have never lived with others before may feel uncomfortable sharing a space with someone they do not know. That is an essential life skill for adults, as most people live with others throughout their lives, marriages and friendships.
During the Transition to College
Students often feel overwhelmed with new scholarly responsibilities, living situations and separation from their homes. In this time of transition, conflict may arise with roommates or peers. It’s often difficult to communicate effectively under these circumstances.
Helping Your Student Deal with a Roommate Conflict
- Tell them to be open to what their roommate has to say.
- Make sure they don’t assume or ignore the feelings of the other people in the room.
- Encourage communication between your student and their roommates.
- When your student moves in, they will complete a roommate contract with their roommates. Encourage open communication throughout this process.
- Remember to encourage your student to talk to their Resident Assistant(RA) when conflicts arise.
- Remind your student that they are not the only party involved; encourage negotiation and compromise.
- Moving isn’t ideal, but remind your student that they should know when to quit if a conflict gets too serious; the MRC is here to help with this transition.
Having trouble talking to your roommate?
Here are some ways to communicate through conflict:
- Realize your roommate has a different background than you. Be careful of using the word “should,” as you may have different ideas on how things “should” be done.
- Use “I feel (emotion) when you (action)” to open a dialogue about a conflict. This way, you won’t accuse them of something they may not feel they’re doing.
- Listen to what their story is, and repeat it back to them to make sure you understand their side.
We at the Mediation Resource Center (MRC) understand how hard it can be to live with one other person, let alone two! Here are some tips to get you through the year.
ORGANIZE! Space is limited in any residence hall room, but even more so in a triple. Use discretion when you’re choosing what to bring to your room, and take advantage of room organizers like shelves, drawers, boxes, or even consider using vacuum-sealed storage for out of season clothing or extra linens.
PLAN AHEAD! When you or your roommates are expecting guests, tell each other in advance so that other sleeping arrangements can be made, if necessary.
COORDINATE! Three different people are bound to have three different schedules so work with one another to decide whose turn it is to take out the trash or clean the bathroom. It is also helpful to coordinate before moving in, who is buying/bringing what so that you can save money and space.
COMMUNICATE! Talk to your roommates about your expectations of one another, and come up with a list of guidelines to live by that you can all follow. If there is any kind of issue, always address your roommate(s) directly. It is better not to use texts or notes, as a lot can be misunderstood. If necessary, seek help from your RA, CD or even the MRC.
EXPLORE! You and your roommates are less likely to encounter conflict if you all have some alone time. To decrease the time you are all in the room & “on top of one another,” visit a friend, join a club, or grab a bite to eat!
BE RESPECTFUL! Be sure to treat not only your roommates with respect, but the room, as well. Be aware and considerate of if/how you use your roommates’ belongings, as well as the overall condition of your shared/living space.