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Housing and Residence Life

Living Wellness

Managing Roommate Conflicts

You can meet some of your best friends through being roommates, but it is important to be able to communicate effectively in order to get the best results out of any situation that may arise between you and your roommates. Always remember that there is staff available 24/7 to assist you with any concerns or problems you have. The following tips will also help prevent/ease tension between roommates:

  • Make sure to fill out the Roommate Agreement Form during the 1st week of moving to a new room. You will need to sit down with your roommate(s) and discuss the topics on the form and come to a mutual agreement. Sign the form together and give a copy to your Resident Assistant.
  • You may find that there are some things that you would like to change on the form with you and your roommate(s). You can always go back to the form and change it.
  • If there is a problem, make sure to always talk to the person about what is wrong and how you feel. Address the problem and not the person. Also, make sure to not get other parties involved in the conflict.
  • It is important to remain calm at all times and use "I" statements instead of saying "You make me feel uncomfortable when you use my dishes without asking." Say, "I feel uncomfortable when you use my dishes without asking."

Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs are ectoparisite insects which have 6 legs, antennae, and are nearly colorless until they mature. Adult bed bugs are colored mahogany to rusty brown and can grow up to a quarter of an inch long.

Habits of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs like to travel and are good hitchhikers. They will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical switchplates, picture frames, wallpaper and nearly anywhere inside a home, car, bus, or other shelter.

Bed bugs usually come out at night for a blood meal. However, they are opportunistic insects and can take a blood meal during the day, especially in heavily-infested areas. Bed bugs usually require 5-10 minutes to engorge with blood. After feeding, they move to secluded places and hide for 5-10 days. During this time, they do not feed but instead digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs. 

Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. Beg bugs are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, busses and trains. Bed bugs can also withstand extreme temperatures, from nearly freezing to over 110 degrees fahrenheit.

Threats of Bed Bugs

Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

Information on this page is from the National Pest Management Association, Inc.

Prevention of Bed Bugs

  1. Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
  2. Check your bedsheets for tell-tale blood spots.
  3. Consider bringing a large plastic trashbag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
  4. Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
  5. Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult to detect an infestation if you are untrained.
  6. Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
  7. Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control to address an infestation.
  • Has there really been a resurgence in bedbugs in the U.S. and how do you know?
    There HAS been an increase in bedbug infestations. Pest Control Companies who received 1 or 2 bedbug calls a year are now reporting 1 to 2 each week.
  • Where have you been finding the bedbugs?
    These pests are not limited to any one specific type of dwelling. Pest Control Companies have been reporting the infestations in multi-family housing, apartments, hotels and even hospitals.
  • What states have been affected?
    Pest Control Companies have reported bed bug activity on a national scale. Bedbugs are being found from the East to the West Coast; and everywhere in-between.
  • Why are bedbugs so hard to treat?
    Bedbegs should not be equated with filth or sanitation problems -- in hotels or in homes, for that matter. Bedbugs are very elusive, transient and nocturnal pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed. And they are hardy. They can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedbugs can be controlled with vigilance and constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control companies.
  • What can a consumer do to protect themselves from bedbug infestations?
    To prevent bedbug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control professional. This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.
  • Why are bedbugs an issue for hotels, visitors, and homeowners?
    Bedbugs leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin. Adult bed bugs can live for a year without eating, making them especially hard to control. Once inside a hotel or home, bed bugs spread rapidly from room to room - through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bed bugs can even spread to neighboring rooms, since guests may end up moving to another room.
  • Are bedbugs just in beds?
    Bedbugs are not just in beds. They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can be live pretty much anywhere.
  • How does one control bedbugs?
    Any effective bedbug control strategy should start with a careful, thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected spots where the bugs may be harboring. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures. As they are discovered, the pest control professional will develop a treatment and control strategy with the customer depending on the extent of the infestation.

Flu Season Preparedness

UNF administrators are actively planning and preparing for the flu season which will involve H1N1 flu (swine flu) in addition to other influenza. Housing administrators are part of a university-wide task force monitoring this situation. All campus facilities are in full compliance with the guidelines and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Duval County Health Department, the UNF Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S), and the UNF Student Health Services (SHS). At this time, there are no campus notices or alerts. Health care professionals encourage you to stay informed, stay healthy, and be prepared.

Tips for Preparedness

Stay Informed

Stay Healthy

  • Eat healthy, get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night, and exercise.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person, through coughing or sneezing of infected persons.
  • Take everyday actions to stay healthy:
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
    • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing behaviors.
  • Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
  • Vaccinations for H1N1 flu for students under 24 years of age may be available in October. Seasonal flu vaccine for all students, staff, and faculty will likely be available prior to October.

Be Prepared

  • Purchase hand sanitizer for your personal use.
  • Purchase air/hard surface disinfectant for your personal use.
  • Include a thermometer in your personal first aid kit.

*Information from the CDC and other health agencies.

  • How can I prepare NOW for flu season?

    Get vaccinated for the H1N1 flu

    Purchase hand sanitizer for personal use; purchase air/hard surface disinfectant for personal use; have a supply of over-the counter medicines available; have a supply of clear liquids available; and have a supply of tissues available.

  • What should I do if I become ill with flu-like symptoms?

    Plan to self-isolate.

    • Stay away from others in your residence hall room or apartment for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), except to get medical care or for other necessities.
    • For sneezes and coughs, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Immediately throw away used tissue. Immediately clean hands after each sneeze or cough.
    • Wear a face mask when sharing common spaces with others.
    • Avoid close contact with others. Do not go to work or school, or ride public transportation while ill.
    • Get plenty of rest. Drink clear fluids to keep from getting dehydrated

    If you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe persistent vomiting
    • Flu-like symptoms improve then return with fever and worse cough
  • What if my roommate is sick?

    According to the CDC website, those who are well but living with ill family members or roommates with flu-like illness can go about their daily business as usual. They need to monitor their health daily and take common sense precautions including washing hands often with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand cleaners. They are also encouraged to remain at least 6 feet away from the ill family member or roommate at all times.

    More info: CDC Home Care Guide for Flu

  • Does UNF quarantine or isolate ill campus residents?
    No. At this time, Florida is on a level 2 (on a scale of 5 with 5 being the most severe level) alert. Quarantining sick individuals is not a recommended response in a level 2 outbreak. Campus, as well as off campus residents are encouraged to self-isolate in their rooms or apartments if they are experiencing flu-like illness. See "Q. What should I do if I become ill with flu-like symptoms?" above.
  • Are students required to leave campus if they become ill?

    No. See "Q. What should I do if I become ill with flu-like symptoms?" above.

    UNF does not require ill students to leave campus if they develop flu-like illnesses. However, many students may find it more comfortable to return home for that time period to continue their recovery. Whenever possible, students wishing to return home to recover should travel by private vehicle rather than public transportation.

  • What hand sanitizers and air/hard surface disinfectants for personal use are recommended?

    Students are required to keep living areas clean on an ongoing basis and semi-private/private bathrooms clean between weekly staff cleanings. To that end, the CDC recommends that surfaces are kept clean "by wiping them down with household disinfectants according to directions on the product label. Several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time."

    Other recommendations:

    • Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those with flu-like illness do not need to be cleaned separately. These items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first however.
    • Wash sheets, towels, and other linens using household laundry detergent and dry on a hot setting. Avoid "hugging" the dirty laundry of an ill individual, and clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based cleaner immediately after handling laundry.
    • Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with soap and water.

    Some Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggested household or personal products for cleaning and sanitizing:

    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Foam Power Heavy Duty Bathroom Cleaner
    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Direct Multi-Purpose Cleaner
    • Lysol Brand Pre-Moistened Touch-Ups Disinfecting Cleaning Wipes
    • Lysol Brand Foaming Disinfectant Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner II
    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Trigger Spray
    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Basin, Tub, & Tile Cleaner Pre-Moistened Wipe
    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Multi-Purpose Cleaner
    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Pine Scent Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner
    • Lysol Brand Deodorizing Disinfectant Cleaner
    • Lysol Brand Disinfectant Bleach Plus
    • Lysol Brand Hard Water Stain Cleaner
    • Comet Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner
    • Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Antibacterial
    • Ultra Mr. Clean
    • Windex Antibacterial Glass & Surface Cleaner
    • Tough Act The Heavy Duty Bathroom Cleaner
    • Clorox
    • Fresh Scent Clorox
    • Pine Sol Household Cleaner Disinfectant
    • Pine-Sol Spray
    • Ultra Clorox Brand Regular Bleach
    • Ultra Clorox Brand Fresh Scent Bleach
    • Ultra Clorox Brand 6.15% Bleach 30 Soluble Concentrate Clorox Company
    • Clorox Disinfecting Spray III
    • Ultra Clorox Bleach Formula


A Little On Homesickness?

It is not unusual for students to feel homesick at some point in their university experience. Beginning your experience here at the University of North Florida may generate excitement and anxiety about the move, academics, or meeting new people. Some students will quickly overcome this apprehension as they adapt to a new environment. For other students, the transition takes longer and sometimes emerges as homesickness. You miss, yearn for and grieve over the change from the familiar.

If you are homesick, you may notice an increase in depressed feelings, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, or even minor physical ailments. Some students may feel mildly depressed and anxious several weeks before leaving home, in anticipation of the impending change. Others may find themselves feeling homesick later in the academic year, even after Winter break or the start of their second year. But commonly it is the first few days or weeks after arriving at university which are the most difficult.

Vulnerability to homesickness is affected by:

  • The distance from home
  • A sense of anticlimax at finally arriving at college after working towards it for so long
  • Whether the student was responsible for the decision to attend the college
  • Unhappiness due to expectations of college being met
  • Job strain (work overload and low control over it)
  • Whether family members at home are well and happy
  • Contrast in lifestyle

Those who are homesick often feel they have no control over their environment, and that they are not identified with it or committed to the university or their place in it.

Transition to College

There are two tasks involved in starting college:

  1. Leaving familiar things, people and places,
  2. Adapting to new things, people and places.

Individuals have different levels of tolerance to change and have learned different ways of coping with new situations. But what can make transition so hard? In a familiar place, people generally feel accepted and secure. Away from the familiar, they are without their usual sources of support, and in unfamiliar surroundings, their previous methods of coping and working are challenged. 

What might help?

  1. Talk to someone. If you haven't yet made friends here, then try a counselor at our UNF counseling center, your RA, your roommate or a professor.
  2. Maintain relationships with those you left at home. Arrange times to go back and visit, perhaps after a few weeks. But also, don’t forget to give yourself time to get involved here. Don't let looking back actually hinder moving forward.
  3. Encourage friends and family to come and see you in your new setting (for example, during Parents and Family Weekend).
  4. Remember that many other people will have similar feelings, although you may assume that they are doing fine! (You can't read their minds - just as they can't read yours!)
  5. You are allowed to feel sad and homesick! But you are also allowed to enjoy yourself - it isn't being disloyal to those you miss!
  6. Be realistic about what to expect from student life and from yourself. Establish a balance between work and leisure. You don’t have to work ALL the time; you would soon burn out. On the other hand, if you don't put in enough time on work, you can very quickly get behind, which only adds to the stresses!
  7. If work is too difficult, try to improve your study skills or your organization of time and work. There may be people in your classes or in your residence hall that can help in this area. We also offer Living-Learning Community.
  8. Remember to get enough food and sleep! These affect us emotionally as well as physically.
  9. Make contacts and friends through shared activities such as sport or other interests. Go to programs in your residence hall and on campus. Join a club.
  10. Give yourself time to adjust: you don't have to get everything right away. Give yourself some time.
  11. If you stop being able to do normal social and academic things, seek professional help either from your doctor or the counseling service. Don't wait until the problems have grown impossibly large!

We hope that some of these suggestions will prove useful. There are many things you can do to help yourself, but don't hesitate in seeking out the help of others. Homesickness is not unusual, and it can be conquered!

UNF Resources and A Few Things to Do on Campus

  • Take advantage of the UNF counseling center and follow them on social media
  • Take a walk around campus, it is beautiful!
  • Attend events created by student staff, Residence Life Coordinators and campus partners
  • Apply to be in a Living-Learning Community
  • Attend FreshCheckDay in the Fall
  • Take a break in Osprey Clubhouse
  • Go to Market Days on Wednesdays in the Student Union
  • Explore campus!
  • Try one of many outdoor activities at EcoAdventure!
  • Go rock climbing at the Student Wellness Complex
  • Join a club!

Always Remember to:

  • Connect to things you love.
  • Try something new until you find something you like.
  • Take advantage of a leadership opportunity.
  • Help someone else, helping someone else might help you. 

Remember to get involved around campus! Getting out of your room, exploring campus and the many things UNF has to offer as well as trying something new might help with homesickness.

*Partially adapted from the University of Cambridge, England