New Student Information

Campus Living

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 last 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?

    First year and transfer students may arrive on campus between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. on the Saturday prior to the first day of classes. Returning students may arrive on the Sunday prior to the first day of classes. The first day of classes is usually the first Wednesday in September or the final Wednesday in August. Specific arrival dates and times will be sent to students each August.

    Students who participate in 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. 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 and will be charged an early arrival fee.

    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
    - Cable and Internet access with basic television service included in the room fee (students provide their own cables)
    - Each room has one telephone number assigned to the room. Individual phone numbers and voice mail can be requested through contacting the Help Desk at or by calling (563) 387-1000. Students may use calling cards and cell phones to make long distance calls.

  • 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: (some items are essential; others are not):

    - Linens (80-inch twin XL sheets, pillowcases, pillows, blankets, comforter, mattress pad.  (All mattresses at Luther at twin extra-long)
    - Towels
    - Laundry bag or basket
    - Desk items
    - Wastebasket
    - Ironing board
    - Clothes hangers
    - Alarm clock
    - Desk lamp
    - Computer
    - Backpack
    - Earphones
    - TV
    - Radio/stereo
    - 3.2 (or less) cubic-foot refrigerator (one per room/two per quad). Refrigerator rental is also available from the Luther College Entrepreneurship Club. They can be contacted by email at
    - Floor coverings (rugs, carpets)
    - Small fan
    - Camera
    - Bulletin board
    - Plastic drawer storage units
    - "Cushy" chair
    - Laundry detergent/softener
    - Favorite sports equipment
    - 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
    - Markers, tape, scissors
    - First-aid kit that includes: ibuprofen, thermometer, band aids, cold remedies
    - Sewing kit/safety pins
    - Flashlight

  • What should I leave at home?

    - Pets (except fish; no piranhas)
    - Extension cords, multiple plug adapters, wireless routers, 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, NuWave ovens, and air conditioners (they overload our electrical circuits)
    - Toasters, 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)
    - 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 located on the residence life website by clicking on residence halls and the name of your building.  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, simply go to and click on "fixit" to send a request.

  • Are the residence halls air conditioned?

    The residence halls which house first-year students (Brandt, Olson, and Ylvisaker halls) do not have central air conditioning. Students may cool their rooms through the use of window 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 and Olson Halls.

  • Where can I do my laundry?

    Laundry facilities are located in each residential building. Brandt Hall, Ylvisaker Hall, Olson Hall, Norby House, and the Towers have card activated laundry machines.  Residents in these buildings should purchase a laundry card from the card machine located in the Dahl Centennial Union. Coin operated machines are located in the rest of the campus residence halls. The cost per load is $1.00 to wash and $.50  to dry.  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, Olson 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.  All other halls on campus have furniture that can be lofted with the materials provided, no homemade lofts are allowed in any residence hall. 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.  Norby Global House and the Sustainability House are also co-ed residences.

  • 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. on weekdays (Sun - Thurs). On weekends (Fri and Sat), 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, open visitation will exist 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 (23 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 upper class 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 from 7 to 10 pm Sunday through Thursday and 8 to 11 pm 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 the two official college breaks (Christmas break and spring break). For the safety of students, the buildings are locked during these breaks and students do not have access to their rooms or possessions. 

    Students who need to be on campus at any time during these two breaks 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, Norby Global House, the Sustainability House, and all three Prairie Houses.  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. 

    During all other academic breaks, residence halls will remain locked for student safety, but will be accessible at all times to residents assigned to those buildings with their building access key or ID card swipe.

  • Is there storage on campus?

    The college does not maintain storage unless a student lives farther than five hours from the college. Long-term storage units are available in the Decorah area; contact information is available through the Decorah Area Chamber.

    There are numerous secure racks on campus for bicycle storage, students are encouraged to bring a good lock and use it. Indoor winter bike storage is available.

  • 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, Brandt, and Olson halls are ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant. Other residence halls are not handicapped accessible. 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 Decorah Police Department (563) 382-3667.