Halogen floor lamps were banned while I was at undergrad, because they were a fire hazard. I had one of the filaments explode while I was turning the thing on once, and it was a lot more spectacular than what you might expect from a normal bulb.

Another safety rule that was generally ignored was to keep the hallways clear of boxes, sofas, etc, as it blocked evacuation in case of fire. It was ignored because my dorm was constructed almost entirely of cinderblock.

Another one was to forbid pet ownership of anything that could trigger allergies, with the exception of small birds.

If you wanted to throw a party, there were various rules that were less safety tips than they were failsafes against litigation, such as keeping a fence around larger parties, requiring student security to check IDs, requiring that no beverages be carried into or out of the party, etc.

A general rule was that there had to be a dorm proctor on duty at all times to call the ambulance and provide quick alibis. I went to a pretty small college, so this job was split up between the proctors of the small dorms.

It was pretty easy to find exceptions to the rules. For a while, we had a trampoline set up inside our lounge. It was rediculously dangerous, but completely within the rules. Same with the chickens. And the bonfire.

IANAL, but I'm 100% sure that the gun rules depend on which college you go to. And I'm 95% sure that the college will forbid it within the dorm. (The variance would be in the discipline if caught).

A no-no in most dorms is a toaster oven due to their high heat output. Most likely they don't really have a problem with the appliance per se, but the fact that drunk college students have a tendency to crave food the second they get home, start cooking it, and then pass out

As an oldster living in a dorm, be aware that all your underage floormates will be asking you to purchase the nectar of the gods, a.k.a. beer, for them. This is not an unheard of thing to do for them, just keep in mind the tax they must pay you, typically one can in six.

just don't get caught

as a rule of thumb:

Things I learned from my two years in the trenches at UW:


  • Use the love lock. Even when you're alone and you roomate isn't supposed to be back from class for another hour. Wait. Especially when you're alone.
  • Don't mix drunk sophmores, everclear, and a lighter. I thank whatever deity made that guy put the bottle down on the counter rather than drop it after he set the wall, door, and his hand on fire while trying to do the "fire coming out of the mouth" trick.
  • Weather stripping around the door helps keep odors in.
  • At least use a towel in the door, and don't keep letting people in & out while the festivites are in progress
  • Stay away from the windows. There are always cops watching from the driveway.

Safety tips from life in the dorms at GSU.

  • Your furniture may be fireproof but that doesn't mean it won't melt.
  • Writing your name in Lysol and setting it on fire on the table is fun but your stack of Wired and Playboy magazines on fire is not.
  • Food particles on the stove build up when one cooks. They will catch on fire.
  • The vulnerable freshman with emotional issues who wants to sleep with you has emotional issues and wants to sleep with you. Think about it.
  • The fire alarm at three in the morning may actually be caused by a fire.


Note: Many of these examples deal with fire. There is a reason for that. Many people, including myself, think fire is fun. Many college students, including myself, drink large quantities of alcohol. Put two and two together people.

You guys don't know what you're talking about. Here are some of the real rules of dorm living...

  • Never, NEVER drink from the water fountain on the first day back to school. Chances are good that that water has been sitting in the pipes for months and months. It has thusly absorbed copious amounts of lead, zinc, formaldahyde, poop, and other tasty ingredients.
  • Always line your wastebasket with some kind of plastic bag, because some dufus is inevitably going to come along and spit out his gum, dump his beer, or toss his cookies into that thing. If you don't have a liner or a handy hose on the spot, you get to live with the stuff dried for eternity on the bottom of the wastebasket.
  • Learn to love rap music, because there is always some idiot who is so sure that everybody loves his rap that he plays it loud enough for everyone on the floor and the floors above and below to hear.
  • Don't use your ethernet connection to download gigabytes of warez and mp3's every day. Authorities have a tendency to shut off your port with extreme predjudice.
  • Bunk the beds. Trust me, that space is priceless.
  • The guy with the car always makes a good friend.
  • The guy with the car can be bought.
  • Buy the carpet with the built-in padding. More expensive, but worth it all the way.
  • At night, a laser pointer is your first, best weapon against the people in the building across the street.
  • Dorm Food Rules
    • Never eat anthing with "wrap" in the name.
    • Pay attention to what they have on Monday. Say they have pot roast. On Tuesday, it's probably okay to eat the meatloaf they they will undoubtedly have. On Wednesday, try the sloppy joe at your own risk. On Thursday, steer clear of the beef stew. On Friday, a good way to end your pain and shuffle off this mortal coil is to enjoy a nice beef wrap.
    • It's okay to take anything you want out of the cafeteria. Cereal, salad, sides of beef, it's all good. Just make sure you have a big enough school bag to conceal it in.
    • Fork Sculptures are fun. Make sure to come up with a good name, though, like "Man's Search for Meaning" or "Dude Pissing on Himself."
    • If it's a nugget, it has to be good.
  • Don't bother trying to sleep before a big test, because somebody will invariably pull the fire alarm at 3:00am and you'll have to evacuate the building for half an hour.
  • Janitors charge at least $1000 extra per-hour to do stuff that no human should ever be asked to do, like mopping a floor with rollerblade scuff marks or cleaning up spilled popcorn. This means that all people on the offending floor must be charged large fees when such atrocities occur.
  • Don't poop in the shower.
  • If you masturbate in the shower, don't make ANY noise.
  • The best way to get your roommate to come home is to be naked and/or masturbate.
  • When coming back to your room, never burst through your door quickly, as your roommate will be naked and/or masturbating.
  • Giant heaps of dirty laundry have a tendency to achieve conciousness and run away, so be careful!

Hope this helps all you recent high school graduates and dorm junkies. Enjoy!

Here are a few more:

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