Frequently Asked Questions

  • When do the residence halls open in September?

    Returning students
    May check in to their residence halls at 9 am on Monday, September 7, 2015. 

    Returning students who plan to take Brown University classes
    Since Brown and RISD will be opening the same week and classes are starting the same week - there will be no Brown Early Arrival. 

    Students looking to arrive early must participate in a student leadership position that permits them to move in early (RA, OLs, IOLs, Movers and Shakers) and must complete a Brown Early Arrival Request Form by August 1. 

    First-year students and any other new RISD students, including international exchange students
    may check in to their residence halls at 9 am on Sunday, September 6. 

    New international students (full time degree students) 
    may check in to their rooms at 9 am on Thursday, September 3. These students should coordinate their arrival with the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement.

  • Office Hours

    The Residence Life Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30am until 4:30pm. Call us at 401-454-6650, or email us at

  • How do I get to RISD?

    The Providence Airport is approximately a 15 minute drive from RISD.  For travel information to and from the Providence Airport, please visit T. F. Green Airport.  

     Boston Logan International Airport is approximately a 45 minute drive from RISD.  Visit Boston Logan Airport for details about ground transportation.

    Local Transportation: RIPTA (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority) Buses: these are free with the use of a RISD ID. There are 2 buses that run to the Providence Airport: # 14 WestBay (stop 'D' in downtown Providence at Kennedy Plaza), or #20 Elmwood Ave.  (stop "A" in Kennedy Plaza).  Visit the RIPTA website for details and schedule information.









  • When will I receive my user name and password?
    Your email account will be created within 2 weeks after your enrollment deposit is received by the Admissions Office. Your user name and temporary password will be emailed to you. Should you have difficulty logging into your account, contact the help desk at
  • Where do first-year students live? How about upperclass students?
    All first-year students live together in one of six buildings: Homer, Nickerson, South or East Halls, or Carpenter and Pardon Miller Houses. After the first year, all housing is mixed with all class years.
  • Do I have to share a room?
    We believe that the experience of sharing a room can be a valuable part of the learning that occurs in college. Also, many students appreciate it as an economical alternative. In first-year housing there are some single rooms available, though they are very limited in number. Upperclass housing offers many different styles and options including shared rooms, private rooms, shared apartments (with and without private bedrooms) and completely private apartments.
  • Can I move or switch rooms?

    At the start of the year we impose a three week freeze on changes. After that time, if you think you need to change you should contact the Area Coordinator for your housing area to speak about the process and review options. Once it has been determined that a room change is in order, you should fill our a Room Change Request Form:

    Room Change Request Form

    Units are offered based on availability and students are notified by our office when a new space is available. 

  • May I sublet my room?
    No, subletting RISD housing is not permitted.
  • Can first-year students or sophomores live off campus?
    RISD expects all first-year and second-year students to live on campus. Those students who are married, will turn 21 years of age before September 1st, or plan to live at home locally with their parents, may request a waiver of this requirement by contacting the Residence Life Office at We define “home” as the parent(s)’ place of legal domicile.
  • What should I bring when I come to school?

    Going away to college is very exciting; it can also be overwhelming. Many questions arise during the summer months after school ends and RISD begins. Below you will find some information to help you decide what to bring with you. Remember, if you have a question; please do not hesitate to contact the Residence Life office at We'll be more than happy to help you.

    What we provide

    All of the residence halls have:

    • Card access building and room entry locks
    • Fire detection and sprinkler systems
    • Wireless internet (except Charles Landing)
    • Telephone jacks with local service
    • Several electrical outlets
    • Coin or card operated laundry facilities
    • Window shades or blinds

    Each student space has:

    • Extra-long (80") twin bed and mattress
    • Closet or Wardrobe
    • Bureau
    • Work desk and chair
    • Ceiling light
    • Wastebasket

    What you should bring

    • Sheets -- extra long (80") twin size
    • Mattress pad
    • Blankets or Comforter
    • Towels
    • Pillow and pillowcases
    • Telephone (if you want a landline)
    • Desk/work lamp (no halogen bulbs)
    • Alarm clock
    • Art & general school supplies

    Other things you may wish to consider

    • Area rug (room floors are tiled)
    • Laundry bag
    • Flip-flops/shower sandals
    • Shower caddy
    • Fan (most residence halls are NOT air-conditioned)
    • Posters and other items to decorate
    • Plants
    • Power strips
    • Other things to make you feel "at home"

    What you should NOT bring

    • Waterbed
    • Loft unit
    • Large refrigerators (greater than 3 cubic feet) or more than one per room
    • Pets (except fish in tanks 10 gallons or less)
    • Candles or incense
    • Halogen or "lava" lamps
    • Cooking appliances such as a toaster, toaster oven, microwave oven, popcorn poppers, or anything with a heating coil. A coffee maker is OK. Microwaves in a Microfridge unit are permissible (available for rent at
    • Curtains or large tapestry/wall hanging
    • Paper lanterns
    • Weapons of any kind
    • Acetylene/Propane torches, oil lamps, or any open flame device
    • Space Heaters
  • What is the best way to ship items to or from RISD?


    For First-Year Students:

    The RISD Mailroom will send you specific shipping instructions in early July along with shipping labels, your RISD box number, and mailbox combination. You may begin shipping items to the UPS Store after the first week of August.

    For the fall move-in, the RISD Mailroom works with a local UPS shipper located at:

    UPS Store 
    11 South Angell St.
    Providence RI 02906

    The UPS Store will receive, store and deliver items to RISD just prior to the opening of school. Your items may be received in the First Year Quad at check-in. You may contact UPS directly at 401 751-6245 should you have any questions.

    For Incoming International Freshman: 

    Packages coming from over-seas addresses should be mailed directly to your RISD box number as directed in the instructions that you will receive in July. You may begin mailing packages during the first week of August. 

    Shipped items for International Students should be addressed to:

    Student Name
    RISD Box #_____
    2 College St.
    Providence RI 02903

    For Upperclass students: 

    Please ship your items directly to your RISD box after the first week of August.
    *The only exception to this policy is for residents of Charles Landing Apartments who have a mailbox for each apartment on site. Residents may arrange for packages to be received there by contacting the Leasing Office at 401 272-5580.


    All local shipping vendors know to deliver all “RISD” packages to the RISD Mailroom. When parcels are received, students receive a notice in their mailbox that they have a package waiting for them. 

    *You cannot ship anything directly to a studio or residence hall.



    UPS staff will be on campus in the First Year Quad for several days prior to the close of the Residence Halls to assist students with shipping items back home.

    For any mail or shipping questions, contact the RISD Mailroom at 401 454-6319.

  • What can I expect for furniture in my room?

    We provide each student with the following:

    • Extra long, twin bed (exception: double beds are provided in Charles Landing one bedroom apartments, and in some 15 West loft units)
    • desk w/ chair 
    • Wardrobe or Closet
    • Chest of Drawers
    • Blinds or Shades
    • Wastebasket
  • May I bring in my own furniture?
    You should bring additional items to make yourself comfortable such as lighting, fans, shelves, etc. While you are welcome to bring additional furniture, we do not remove or store any furniture from your room/unit. If you do bring furniture, it must be in good condition and it cannot be so large, or numerous, that it creates a fire hazard. All RISD furnishings must be in your unit when you check out at the end of the term/year.
  • May I loft my bed?
    We do not typically allow lofting of beds. However, we do have a number of different styles of beds provided throughout RISD housing. Most are adjustable to various heights. Some may also be bunked.

     For specific questions about your building, speak with your Area Coordinator.
  • May I bring an air conditioner?

    No. Some buildings have A/C, some don’t. But individual air conditioning units are NOT ALLOWED. Please bring a fan instead.

  • Can I have a refrigerator, microwave oven or other electrical appliances in my room?
    Students living in First-Year Housing or Hill Houses may have one compact refrigerator of 3 cubic feet or less per room. You may bring your own, or rent one from our approved vendor.  The company monitors for duplicate orders from the same room. Additional refrigerators are not allowed in the apartments or suites.

    In kitchen areas or in the Hill Houses or quad, microwaves as part of a combination microwave/refrigerator unit are allowed. These units are available through our approved vendor .
  • Can I paint or wallpaper my room?
    Nope! One person’s warm, soothing red is another person’s blood curdling, depression inducing puce. It’s also a pain to scrape off the hello kitty border you put up so no wall paper either!!
  • How much “stuff” can I put on my walls?
    For fire safety reasons, all students should keep at least 70% of their walls clear and free, that way, in the event of a fire, it will not travel from one side of the room to the other rapidly. And absolutely nothing can be applied or affixed to the ceiling or to any sprinkler pipes.
  • May I have candles, incense or any other open flame device?
    Sorry, but no. This prohibition also includes hotplates and candle warmers. Try diffusers and air fresheners–they work wonders!
  • Do we have internet and phone service in our rooms?

    All rooms are equipped with high-speed internet, however landlines are not supported.

    The internet service at Charles Landing is provided through a local carrier. Though it is not part of the RISD network, it is a high-speed service. 

  • Is there wireless internet in the residence halls?
    All halls, except Charles Landing, provide wireless access to the campus network. Internet access in Charles Landing is provided by a local service provider and residents will need an ethernet cord. RISD provides modems in two bedroom units.
  • Will I have cable TV?
    Cable service is provided to the living units of 15 West and Charles Landing. The Quad and Hill Houses have cable provided in the TV Lounges.  Colonial and Dwight residents may contract with the local provider for cable services, if desired.
  • Are there storage areas for students?
    Unfortunately, there is no space available for storage of items on campus. We work with a local moving and storage company to coordinate pickup, drop-off and storage services for students. They offer special summer storage packages for RISD students. For pricing and reservations contact Jones Moving & Storage at 401 421-0081.
  • Do you offer a laundry service?
    Each residence hall has coin or card operated laundry machines for student use. In addition, a laundry service is available through E & R Laundry. For more info regarding their student laundry service plans, please visit their website at
  • Is there a place for me to do messy work in my residence hall?
    15 West (Apartment and Alcove Floors), Hill Houses, Colonial Apartments and the First Year Quad all have work rooms for those “messy” assignments. These are not studio spaces and work SHOULD NOT be left in the work room unattended.
  • What cleaning services should I expect?
    Our Facilities staff maintain all of the common, public areas in our buildings such as corridors, stairwells and community lounges.

    In the Quad and Hill Houses, RISD staff also maintains the shared bathroom and kitchens. Students living in 15 West, Benefit Street Apartments or Charles Landing clean their own apartment living areas. We DO NOT supply toilet paper or any other cleaning supplies to students in apartments, lofts or alcove suites.

    We expect ALL Students to bring their personal trash and recycling to the designated rooms in their respective building.
  • How do I get something in my room fixed?
    Work requests may be submitted to the RISD Facilities Department at For emergencies, contact Public Safety at 401 454-6666 (or x6666 from an on-campus telephone)
  • How do returning students choose rooms for the following year?
    Each spring semester returning students have the opportunity to choose rooms to live in for the following school year. The Residence Life staff conducts a series of meetings and events that explain the entire process of room selection, offer an opportunity to see various rooms, and allow students to choose a room based upon several factors such as their class year, and their “room selection time slot.”

    Room selection instructions are communicated to students and parents prior to the start of the room selection process each year. Announcements are sent via RISD email to all students.
  • When does room selection for returning students take place?
    Housing deposits are required in order to participate in the room selection process for the following academic year. The deadline for submitting a deposit is in mid-February. The days when room selection takes place are generally during the first two weeks of March.
  • Is there a housing deposit?

    There are no Housing Deposits required for returning students who wish to book a room for next year! However, once you have selected a time-slot you are required to select a room or Cancellation Fees apply.  ALL students who sign the housing and dining agreement on the housing portal and do NOT select a room or are looking to cancel their room before or during Academic Year 2015 - 2016 will be charged a cancellation fee.  Please check the Housing and Dining Agreement for additional information.

    Room Selection Instructions 2015-2016

  • Housing Cancellation Policy

     For details regarding housing cancellation policies and fees, please check the Housing and Dining Agreement on our website at: Cancellation Policy

  • Do residence halls close during school breaks?

    Thanksgiving Break – All residence halls remain open for the Thanksgiving Break.

    December Break - All housing closes for the break at the end of the fall semester.  All students in these residence halls must vacate the premises by Noon on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The residence halls re-open on Sunday Jan. 1, 2017. Wintersession classes begin on Wednesday January 4th, 2017. Residents may be able to stay on campus for an additional fee if they have completed the Winter Break Stay Form by December 1st. Charles Landing Residents are able to stay for free if they complete the form by December 1st. The form is available on our dedicated housing website at Winter Break Form.

    Wintersession break – All residence halls remain open between the end of Wintersession and the beginning of the spring term.

    Spring Break – All residence halls remain open during spring break.

  • May I have guests?
    Yes, as long as they are not under 16 years of age. All guests must be signed in at a public safety office, and can only stay for three nights in a seven day period. You MUST OK this with your roommate(s) prior to them arriving!
  • When are quiet hours?
    Quiet hours are 11pm - 9am Sunday through Thursday, midnight - 10am on Friday and Saturday.
  • What are the policies on alcohol and smoking?
    No alcohol or alcohol containers are allowed in ANY of the first-year areas regardless of a student’s age. Students who are of legal age may possess or consume alcohol in the upperclass buildings with certain restrictions. Please consult the Student Handbook for more information.

    No one is permitted to smoke or burn tobacco in any RISD building.
  • What’s an RA?
    An RA, or Resident Advisor, is a student who lives in a residential facility and acts as a resource for the students on their floor, or in their area of the building. While they have some policy enforcement responsibility, they play a key role in creating an environment for students that is conducive to academic, personal and social growth.
  • How do I become an RA?

    Academic Year RA
    We provide information to all RISD students about the selection process on our website and encourage applications. Applications are due at the end of January. We make offers of employment BEFORE room selection begins so that students can make appropriate housing plans for the next year. More information can be found on our staff page.

    Summer RA
    This application process follows the academic year RA interviews. Academic Year RAs generally have the option of working during the summer as well. 


  • How do I report problems with laundry equipment on campus?

    Report laundry issues such as broken equipment and/or coin or card use problems to Card Services at: 




  • Is parking on campus available to students?

    Upperclass students, with a valid parking sticker, may park at the Charles Landing Apartment Complex located at Charles and North Main Streets. To purchase a parking sticker, contact the Residence Life Office at 401-454-6650, or go to:

    Student Parking Permit Request Form


Graduates let loose at the close of RISD's colorful outdoor Commencement.