New Student Information

Learn what you need to know about moving in, getting adjusted to residence hall life, who is here to help, and how to make Luther your new home.

When do I receive my housing assignment email?

First-year roommate assignments are emailed to students’ Luther email addresses during the third week of July.¬†The email contains the building and room assignment for each student, the contact information for all roommate(s) assigned to the room, and detailed information about moving in to your new home at Luther.¬†There are links to helpful websites, including the¬†orientation schedule, and¬†first-year residence hall floor plans.

When do I move into my residence hall?

Fall 2024 first year students will arrive to campus the morning of Saturday, August 31. There will be further information concerning move in shared in the housing email that goes out to all new students in July.

We understand new students from over 500 miles away need to begin making arrival plans before the late July email. If you are a new student that resides over 500 miles from campus you may request a Friday, August 30 arrival date by calling the residence life office at (563) 387-1330 or by emailing

Students who participate in fall athletics, Residence Life staff members, international students, and student employees may arrive on campus early if they have the approval of their coach or work supervisor and appropriate vice president. Specific information about early arrivals such as date, time, and check-in location, will be sent to students by their coach or work supervisor. Students not approved to arrive before the official arrival dates will not be issued keys to their rooms or they will be charged a $100 per night early arrival fee.

Returning students for fall 2024 have the flexibility to arrive from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Sunday, September 1, Monday, September 2, or Tuesday, September 3. Generally, many students arrive on Sunday morning, so if you want to avoid the traffic and rush, plan to arrive later in the day or on Monday or Tuesday.

For more information, please see the early arrival policy.

What comes in a residence hall room?

  • Bed frame and twin extra-long mattress (80″)
  • Desk
  • Desk chair
  • Dresser
  • Closet or clothes wardrobe
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Wireless internet access

Cable: Due to students using streaming services, cable is no longer provided in residence hall rooms.  Residence hall lounges do have televisions with cable.

Student Phones: Individual residence hall rooms do not have telephones. Emergency telephones are located throughout the residence halls for students usage.

What should I bring?

Because you’ll be sharing a rather small space with others, it’s best to limit the items you bring with you. For many of these items, it’s a good idea to contact roommates about what they are bringing in order to avoid duplication in the room.

Suggestions for what to bring include:

  • Linens (80-inch twin XL sheets, pillowcases, pillows, blankets, comforter, mattress pad. All mattresses at Luther are twin extra-long)
  • Towels
  • Laundry bag or basket
  • Desk items
  • Wastebasket
  • Clothes hangers
  • Desk lamp
  • Computer
  • Backpack
  • Earphones for your music/computer
  • 3.2 (or less) cubic-foot refrigerator Energy Star Recommended (one per room/two per quad).
  • Floor coverings (rugs, carpets)
  • Fan (first-year halls do not have AC in the rooms)
  • Laundry detergent/softener
  • A way to carry your Luther College ID and room key (on campus you’ll need to carry both)
  • Shower caddy and flip flops for the shower
  • 3M Command Adhesive Strips/hooks (poster size), masking tape, or poster putty
  • One UL approved surge protector with 6 or less outlets
  • Computer and cable TV cords (students may select to purchase cable upon arrival to campus)
  • Umbrella
  • First-aid kit that includes: ibuprofen, thermometer, band aids, cold remedies
  • Disinfecting wipes for cleaning your personal space
  • Flashlight

What should I leave at home?

  • Pets (except fish; no piranhas)
  • Extension cords, multiple plug adapters, and surge protectors with more than 6 outlets
  • Alcohol (if you’re under 21) or alcoholic containers for display
  • Candles, candle warmers, and incense (prohibited for safety reasons)
  • Microwaves and air conditioners (they overload our electrical circuits)
  • Toasters, air fryers, toaster ovens, broilers, pizza ovens, sandwich grills, electric frying pans, electric grills, hotplates, George Foreman grills, deep fryers, space heaters, and other electrical appliances with exposed heating coils (fire hazard). Students do have full meal plans in the residence halls so they will not be doing much cooking. All of our standard residence halls have kitchens and microwaves for general cooking.
  • Guns, knives, fireworks, and other weapons
  • Wireless routers
  • Heated blankets/bedding
  • Duct tape, nails, or thumbtacks intended for hanging wall items
  • Halogen lamps and multiple head spider lamps. These types of lamps are not only prone to tipping, but may readily ignite objects such as curtains, bedding, lofts, or clothes if placed under or near them. Please leave halogen and spider lamps at home.

What are my room dimensions and can I see my room during the summer?

Once you receive your housing assignment email, you can find your room dimensions on the section of our website about each residence hall (first-year housing, upper-class housing). You are also welcome to visit your room before classes begin by contacting the Residence Life office ahead of time to schedule a tour.

What should I do if I need something fixed in my room?

If you need to report a maintenance concern to the facilities management staff, place a Fixit Request.

Are the residence halls air conditioned?

The residence halls which house first-year students (Brandt and Ylvisaker Halls) do not have central air conditioning. Students may cool their rooms through the use of window or room fans. Students requiring air conditioning for clearly documented health reasons should contact the Disability Services Office at 563-387-1470. All upper class halls are air conditioned except Larsen Hall.

Where can I do my laundry?

Laundry facilities are located in each residential building. Residential students are charged a small laundry fee,  eliminating the need to purchase laundry cards on campus or quarters. Students must provide their own laundry detergent, dryer sheets, iron, ironing board, etc.

Can I build a loft in my room?

Beds in Brandt Hall, Dieseth Hall, Miller Hall, Farwell Hall, and Larsen Hall come with all of the materials that you need for lofting, so leave the tool kits at home. Ylvisaker Hall beds can be bunked, but may not be lofted; no homemade lofts are allowed in any residence hall. Beds may not be placed near windows due to safety reasons. All college-provided furniture must stay in the residence hall rooms.

Do the residence halls have kitchens?

Each residence hall has a kitchen that includes a microwave, stove, sink, and refrigerator. Microwaves are not permitted in student rooms. A small amount of pans and other cookware is available in each residence hall service center for check out and use by students.

Are there vending machines in the hall?

Each residence hall has a snack machine and several beverage vending machines. Pepsi products are sold in the residence halls; other beverages are sold in the Union and several other locations around campus.

Are the residence halls co-educational?

All of the halls are co-educational by floor, wing, cluster, or apartment. Up to four clusters in Farwell Hall allow for co-ed housing within the cluster and are available by application during Room Draw in the spring. Gender inclusive housing (GIH) options are located throughout campus, including Baker Village, Brandt Hall, Campus Houses, College Apartments, designated Farwell Clusters, and the ground floor of Larsen.

What are the intervisitation hours in the residence halls?

Students in all residence halls may be on floors assigned to the opposite sex between 8 a.m. and 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, the visitation hours (8 a.m.-2 a.m.) will remain in effect for students living in designated first-year areas. For individuals living in areas not designated for first-year students, there is open on Friday and Saturday nights.

Although the college has established visitation hours, a student’s right to study, sleep and exercise control over his/her personal space takes precedence over the right to host guests. The Residence Life office office will actively intervene if conflicts arise between roommates with respect to the intervisitation policy.

Does Luther have a residential policy?

As a residential college, we require all full-time students to live in college-owned housing unless married, of nontraditional age (25 years or older), or commuting from their legal guardians’ homes. Off-campus living¬†is limited and permitted by application for upper class students only when there is a shortage of rooms in college residence halls. Students must receive written approval to live off-campus. Plan on living on campus for your entire career at Luther College.

What are quiet hours?

Quiet hours are from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. each day. During quiet hours, noise should not be audible outside of a resident’s room with the room door closed. Courtesy hours exist at all other times. All students are expected to respect other students’ rights to study and sleep free from interruptions by keeping to noise down to an acceptable level.

Are there special living programs within the residence halls?

Luther provides the opportunity for first year students to live on a wellness floor or a quiet floor. Wellness floors are for students who want to engage in a healthy lifestyle and live in a community that promotes wellness. Quiet floors are for first-year students who prefer to live in a quieter living environment.

Who can I go to in the residence halls if I have a question?

A professional Residence Life staff member oversees each residence hall. Hall Directors and Area Coordinators (professional staff who oversee more than one building) are full-time, live-in trained professional staff who manage Resident Assistants (RAs), adjudicate disciplinary conduct issues, act as a liaison with facilities management, and promote positive living-learning environments. They are trained to manage the day-to day operations of their halls, and assist students with personal, academic and college transition issues.

Professional staff members are assisted by assistant hall directors (AHDs), trained student staff who live in each hall and help with administrative tasks and building management. AHDs help supervise the buildings, act as liaisons between the professional staff and Resident Assistant (RA) staff.

Resident Assistants (RAs) are selected and trained student leaders who assist residents by peer counseling, advising, resolving conflicts, providing programs, and assisting in orientation to collegiate life. RAs play a key role in creating an environment for students that is conducive to academic, personal, and social growth and development. RAs are friends, resources, mentors, role models, and community leaders.

Where can I find an RA or check out equipment?

The RAs in each residence hall staff a service center area where students may check out a number of useful items, including: vacuums, mops, brooms, pans, games, and pool/ping pong equipment. The service centers are open each evening: 7‚Äď10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8‚Äď11 p.m. on weekends.

Can you have alcohol on campus?

Alcohol possession and consumption is allowed in residence hall rooms only by those students who are 21 years of age or older. More information is available in the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy section of the student handbook.

Can I smoke on campus?

In accordance with the State of Iowa Smoke-free Air Act in 2008, smoking is prohibited in all college owned buildings, vehicles, and on all campus grounds. This includes recreational facilities, athletic facilities, and parking lots. E-cigarettes are also prohibited on campus.

Can I stay in my room during campus breaks?

Students are not permitted to remain in the residence halls during winter break. For the safety of students, the buildings are locked during the break and students do not have access to their building.

Students who need to be on campus at any time during the break are expected to register with the Residence Life office and to make their own arrangements for housing in one of the following buildings: Miller Hall, Dieseth Hall, Baker Village, College Apartments, the Sustainability House, the Prairie Houses, or Ylvisaker Hall.  Students who live in these buildings may stay in their own rooms. All other students approved to remain on campus must find someone who lives in one of the named buildings to stay with.

The residence halls during all other academic breaks remain open for residents. Residence halls are locked on a regular basis, but will be accessible to residents assigned to those buildings with their building access key or ID card swipe during all breaks with the exception of winter break.

What if I am leaving campus after fall semester or J-Term?

Students who are leaving campus to participate in study away programs receive a request to verify of their absence and the exact term they will be leaving. If a student plans to return the following fall semester they are asked to designate a proxy who will complete¬†Room Draw¬†for them in the spring. The housing assignments coordinator will keep in contact with the student via Luther e-mail during the student’s absence.

What if I am returning to campus after being gone for fall semester?

Students who are in a study away program for the fall semester and are returning for J-Term and/or spring semester should have filled out a form before they left campus stating their housing preference and roommate requests. While the student is away from campus, the housing assignments coordinator will be in contact with students via their Luther e-mail address. Housing assignments are made in early December and e-mails are sent to returning students with their new assignment and roommate name(s).

Are any of the buildings handicapped accessible?

Farwell, Baker Village, Ylvisaker, and Brandt halls are ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant. The college is continuously working to increase accessibility on campus. Students who have questions or concerns about housing accommodations should contact the Disability Services Office at 563-387-1270.

If I like to hunt, where can I store my equipment?

Ammunition and weapons may not be kept in student rooms. Students who wish to have a weapon for hunting purposes must store the weapon and ammunition with the Chase the Adventure Gun Club outside of Decorah at 563-532-9821.

Find out about our assignment process, our policies, living in a campus community, and how to manage roommate problems effectively.

How are new students assigned roommates and to rooms?

All new and transfer students are asked to complete a housing application. Based on your responses to the housing application, we assign you with an individual(s) who appears to share interests and preferences, and have living habits similar to yours. It is important that you fill out the housing application with as much information as possible, honestly answering each question. Once the housing application is received in the Residence Life office, the date it is received is noted.  Preference for building placement is considered by the date in which the application is received.

Your roommate(s) will play an important part in your life on campus. New students are encouraged to contact roommate(s) for next year as soon as you receive your housing assignment email. Communication is the key to a successful roommate relationship.

How many students live in a room?

The number of roommates you have depends upon the hall in which you live. For first-year students, we offer double rooms in Ylvisaker and Brandt. We also offer triple rooms and a few quad rooms in Brandt.

Luther offers a variety of independent living opportunities for upper class students in townhouses, apartments, suites, clusters and in residential houses around the campus. Upper class students can choose from doubles in Miller, Dieseth, Larsen, Farwell, the Sustainability House, and Norby Global House. Triple rooms are available in Larsen Hall and the Sustainability House. College Apartments offer double and triple-occupancy units with no kitchen. Super Single rooms are available for upper class students in Farwell, Larsen, Miller, and Dieseth halls.

For seniors, Baker Village has single rooms; and the Prairie Houses have single, double and triple rooms.

Single rooms in Farwell and Larsen are reserved for students with housing accommodations approved through the Disability Services Office.

What happens if I don’t get along with my roommate?

Most roommate matches work out well. Some do not. Students who wish to move to different rooms should talk with their roommates first to openly, honestly, and directly deal with any issues. RAs are available to help you and your roommate(s) work out your differences. Typically, roommate conflicts arise as a result of communication problems, and the RAs will help facilitate open dialogue. This process may take a while; developing open communication does not always occur quickly. Residents living in the first-year halls will be asked to complete a roommate contract at the beginning of the year to initiate those open lines of communication.

After students have made a good faith effort toward resolving the conflicts, room switches may be available. These moves may also involve a wait depending on the availability of housing or the individual’s particular preferences for their new roommate(s). No room changes will occur before October 1 of the academic year.

What should I do if I have a roommate request?

If a student wishes to live with someone specific, both persons must request each other on their housing application.

My current roommate is leaving, what do I have to do?

When there is a vacancy in a room, an email is sent to the room resident(s) reminding them that the vacancy in their room is available to all students at any time during the year and refusing to have a new roommate is not an option. Students with a room vacancy must be prepared to receive a new roommate upon notice from the Residence Life office. Every effort is made to make roommate matches based on mutual interests.

If the spring semester enrollment allows, students with an anticipated vacancy in double rooms in upper class halls will be notified of a buy-out program.¬†This program allows students in double rooms to “buy-out” the vacant space in their room. The Residence Life office will have final say on which rooms and how many rooms on campus will be eligible for the room buy-out program each year.¬†This program is not available in first-year halls.

Here’s how Luther works with you to keep you and your belongings safe in the residence halls.

What about safety in the residence halls?

Luther College has professional and trained Campus Responders on duty 24 hours per day, 365 days each year. Campus Responders can be reached at 563-387-2111 at any hour of the day. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

Residence hall access doors are locked 24/7, but students can gain access to any hall between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. After 10:00 p.m., students may only enter the building where they live. Students are strongly encouraged to lock their room doors whenever they leave the room, and to carry their room key, ID, or access key at all times.

Resident assistants perform duty rounds in their halls to ensure safety in each building.

What about insurance coverage for my belongings?

Staff members in the halls work hard to provide a safe environment for students. The reality, however, is that the halls are only as safe as you help to make them. Make sure to lock your room door, don’t prop open outside doors, and report suspicious behavior to the residence hall staff or campus responders.

Luther College does not carry insurance on personal property of students and is not responsible for loss of or damage to such property, including property stored in any storage spaces. Students use these spaces at their own risk. The college will not be held responsible for any property of students left in or delivered to the residence halls. It is strongly encouraged that students check their family insurance for coverage and, if necessary, purchase personal property insurance from a reliable private company.

Are there emergency phones on campus?

Emergency telephones are located in several parking lots and at building entrances across campus in case of an emergency.

What to know about eating on campus, where to get some exercise, and how to become involved at Luther all while staying close with those back home.

What activities are provided on campus and in the residence halls?

Students have numerous social opportunities available to them: RAs provide monthly activities to build community and friendships among floor members; Student Activities Council offers films, comedians, concerts, dances, and lectures each weekend; Intramural Sports offers countless intramural sports activities for all levels of competition. And the Campus Programming Board presents a full-year concert series with traveling professional artists. Residence halls also have recreational equipment (volleyball court, ping-pong, foosball, billiards, air hockey, board games, etc.) unique to each building.

Where do I eat and what are the meal plan options?

Dining Services provides all students and their guests balanced meals at reasonable costs. Students may choose from a number of meal plans, all of which contain Dining Dollars. Dining Dollars can be used anywhere that you can buy food on campus, including Marty’s, Oneota Market, Nordic Mart, Nordic Brew, and the Caf.

Is there exercise equipment on campus?

Exercise facilities are located in the Regents Center and Legends Fitness for Life Center. The facilities offer cutting-edge strength and fitness equipment, in addition to a 30-foot rock-climbing wall and a state-of-the art Aquatic Center.

Where can my friends and family send me mail?

Letters and packages mailed to you should be addressed as outlined on the Mail Center website.

See how our campus-wide wireless internet, Luther’s computer labs, and Luther’s residence halls give you the tools you need to stay connected.

Where is wireless internet access available?

The Luther College wireless network covers all residence halls, administrative buildings, and academic buildings, and several outdoor areas. Almost all modern devices are compatible, but some older devices or IoT devices might not work correctly.

More information is available on the Information Technology Services website.

Are there computer labs in the residence halls?

Dieseth, Miller, Larsen, Farwell, Ylvisaker, and Brandt each feature a computer lab, with a printer, that is open 24 hours a day, except during break periods.

Preus Library has computer labs with Windows workstations, black and white and color printers, and also the Digital Media Center. Other buildings on campus have computer labs accessible to students during building hours. Details are located at Computer Labs and Classrooms.

Where is wired internet access available?

Wireless network access is available throughout all residence halls.  Wired network access is available upon request by contacting the Technology Help Desk at, calling 563-387-1000, or requesting online at

Do I need a phone or answering machine?

Due to the number of students on campus with personal cell phones, Luther College no longer supplies student rooms with individual telephones. An emergency phone is located on each residence hall floor in the hallway.

Luther provides you with a variety of options for getting around campus and around Decorah with our bike share program, on-campus parking, and shuttle services.

Can I bring a car to campus?

All students who own or operate a car or motorcycle in the Decorah area are required to register it with Campus Safety.

Students living in campus housing are permitted to park vehicles in designated lots on campus. There is adequate parking on campus; however, the lots are not necessarily close to all of the residence halls. A parking permit is required for all parking areas.

Where can I store my bike?

Bicycles may be kept in the bicycle racks located outside of each hall; bicycles should not be stored in student rooms. It is suggested that students always secure their bike to a bike rack when it is not being used. Students are encouraged to register their bikes with Campus Safety.

To help promote the use of bicycles as an alternative forms of transportation, Luther offers free winter storage for bicycles. Bikes are placed in secure, dry storage in the Ashmore-Jewell Barn. Students will be notified of the dates for bike storage each year.

How does the bike share program work?

The Luther College Bike Share Program provides bikes free to the Luther community. Bikes and helmets may be checked out at the circulation desk in Preus Library.

Apply to be an RA Housing Application

Residence Life Office

Dahl Centennial Union 124A
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone: 563-387-1330