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Dorm rules

smoda61smoda61 Registered User Posts: 2,012 Senior Member
edited May 2009 in Harvard University
OK, yes I am sure that if I search I could find this information myself but I have to confess that for some reason my searches on Harvard.edu are often less than gratifying. With that in mind, I am coming to the students and parents associated with Harvard for help.

Is there a site or web page that provides information for incoming freshman about the dos and don'ts of dorm room contents?

When my son headed off to Tufts, there was a site I found that talked about "no halogen lamps", "no separate fridge and microwave", etc, etc. I am betting that Harvard has some equivalent site and I would love to check it out.

Thanks on advance.
Post edited by smoda61 on

Replies to: Dorm rules

  • ChriscrossChriscross Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Registered User Posts: 2,244 Senior Member
    Don't pay any attention to the rules about appliances - minifridges and separate microwaves are certainly okay. If you end up with something more fire-inducing (i.e. a toaster), you may need to throw it in a closet during winter/spring breaks, as there are sometimes fire inspections that go on + they may get mad if they see it.
  • smoda61smoda61 Registered User Posts: 2,012 Senior Member
    Chriscross - thanks for the link. it has a lot of good information.

    Just forget me - May I what lets you think that the separate fridge and microwaves are OK? Experience? D has the possibility of a hand me down small fridge from her brother (he was in an apartment his last 2 years). Would love to put it to good use since it is already paid for. I just know that Tufts was really strict the two years he was in the dorms. I'd rather not carry a fridge up X flights only to be sent home with it but I'd also rather not formally ask since it sounds like the answer would be "no".
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Registered User Posts: 2,244 Senior Member
    smoda61 - To some degree, it depends... I believe the official policy is still that non-HSA microwaves/fridges aren't allowed (see The Harvard Crimson :: Magazine :: What If It Were All a Lie? for a discussion of why this is absurd), but I would say that about 3/4 of students here violate that policy.

    It's possible that if your D has a really, really anal-retentive proctor, she might not be able to keep the fridge. But the vast majority of proctors recognize the absurdity of the rule, and do things like email students before breaks telling them to put their appliances in closets so that the fire inspectors won't see them.

    *Tons* of students buy + sell microwaves/fridges at the beginning/end of every school year, students are allowed to store microwaves/fridges in the houses in between school years... it's really a widely accepted thing.
  • smoda61smoda61 Registered User Posts: 2,012 Senior Member
    Thanks. To be honest, we only discovered during son's second year that the rule that you had to rent a microfridge directly from tufts student services was not fully true. It still had to be the approved make and model but you could buy your own from an outside source, which over two years was cheaper.

    Glad they are reasonable - for the most part.

    Now, you may be who answered me before about TV's on another thread, but I'll ask here also (I'm trying to locate my post). So, as I understand, there is no cable in the dorm rooms and therefore TV's are only in the common rooms. I assume this means building common rooms NOT suite common rooms. I was told some people splice into the common room line and run a cable into the dorm room. That is something I don't want to even consider. So what happens with rabbit ears on the TV's. Someone also said something about getting HD. But HD would require a cable line, so that confused me.

    Why do I care about TV? Unfortunately, D is my daughter and tends to have background noise on while studying ie TV. In the end, she can always slingbox off our home cable, but that is not my first choice.
  • SynthSynth Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    Yes, there are hooligans here who drill into these beautiful walls to run
    clandestine cable along the lines of a stealth operation like in 'the great
    escape'. The hi-tech oriented crowd redirect TV across the network
    with state-of-the-art settings sans drilling.

    The reason for the 'auto-defrost' rule on the minifridge is to apparently avoid
    creating a puddle on the floor by accident.

    Most proctors are laid back and tell you they "might not notice if for example you
    had a cloth covering ...."
  • smoda61smoda61 Registered User Posts: 2,012 Senior Member
    Synth - I'll get my husband and son looking into that "state-of-the-art" TV stuff. They seem to be able to figure that stuff out. If you have any hints to get them started, let me know. :)
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Registered User Posts: 2,244 Senior Member
    Cable is only in the dorm common rooms.

    Most (many?) students have a TV in their suite common room - which they use for DVDs, and broadcast TV. If you buy an HD antenna (or if your TV has one built in), you can get the broadcast stations in HD for free, which is nice for things like the Super Bowl, LOST, etc.

    There's also a new option, which I don't know much about, which I believe lets you rent a slingbox (connected to DirectTV) for $40/month. I'm sure they'll be soliciting the freshman during orientation for it.
  • guitars101guitars101 Registered User Posts: 2,246 Senior Member
    I know it may not make much sense to us why some of these rules are in place, but they are there for our children's safety. My friend's dtr had a roommate last year who did purchase a toaster oven for her room and also hid it when inspections came. Well, one day during class she was called out by one of her roommates stating that their room was on fire. The entire room didn't burn, only the floor around the little toaster oven. This could have been a big disaster had this happened at night while the girls were sleeping. Some of the dorms electrical systems are not capable of handling such high demand (if everyone had toasters or other items). The buildings are older. We have always followed the rules of the campus housing. They are in place for a reason not just to be uncoopertive. The schools have good alternatives and items that are allowed which are safe for everyone.

    Just a thought...
  • laststopformelaststopforme Registered User Posts: 876 Member
    My host apparently had a similar accident except with a toaster and a rug. Not good.

    Also, in re. TV, I watch most shows online :)
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Registered User Posts: 2,244 Senior Member
    @guitars101 - Take a look at the link I posted. While some rules (no candles, no toasters/hot plates/etc) make sense, others (only one type of fridge is allowed) are just absurd.
  • smoda61smoda61 Registered User Posts: 2,012 Senior Member
    You all are giving me good things to look for, like the HD antenna, etc.

    Now, trick question is something like a keurig single k-cup coffee brewer considered a dangerous hot item?

    What I find interesting about the hot items is that thing I am most worried about is my daughter's hair straightener (and of course I am equally worried about any other girls straightened or curling iron - or I guess guys so as to not discriminate :)). A straigtener or curling iron's heating element, unlike a toaster, is on its exterior.
  • guitars101guitars101 Registered User Posts: 2,246 Senior Member
    just_forget_me, I understand, but I was told it was because they can't monitor all of the electrial wiring that appliances have. They KNOW the ones they rent/sell are safe for use with the outlets.

    smoda, very good point with the hair straighteners. My daughter can't live without hers (she's a freshman in high school) and at times she leaves for school in the mornings with it plugged in. I think that college students will be more responsible since they're older.
  • smoda61smoda61 Registered User Posts: 2,012 Senior Member
    At home, the straightener is only used in the kitchen on inflammable granite counters. I figure that is about as safe as it gets. D's room always looks like an accident waiting to happen. I can't picture a hot device loose in that room. BUT as a precaution, the model I bought her for x-mas came with a inflammable storage bag and pad. So if she uses the iron with the pad and stores it in the bag, I should not worry.
  • guitars101guitars101 Registered User Posts: 2,246 Senior Member
    I like that idea about the granite counters. It's got to be safer than my dtr's bathroom counter :(
This discussion has been closed.