living with a roommate

The Housing and Residential Life Office assigns roommates based on the information you provide on your housing application. Please be honest about your living preferences—particularly as they apply to the cleanliness of your room, what time you go to bed, your expectations regarding noise, and tobacco use—as we do our best to match roommates who are especially compatible in these areas. While our residence halls are smoke-free environments, some residents still prefer to room with others who do not smoke.

Some students already know a specific person that they would like to live with. You may request to live with a friend by indicating the preference on your housing application. We make every effort to accommodate the preference when both students request each other.

Gender-Neutral Housing Option

The Housing and Residential Life Office offers a gender-neutral housing option in our residence halls. Students who choose this option will have the opportunity to be considered for roommate pairings free of the constraints of traditional gender-dependent roommate criteria, and may share a room with someone who identifies with a different gender than they do. The Gender-Neutral Housing Questionnaire must be filled out in order for a student to be housed with a person with a different gender identity from their own.

We created the gender-neutral housing option in an effort to provide a healthy, inclusive, and welcoming living environment for all of our students. We understand that gender identity can be complex and that the gender identity spectrum not only includes people who identify as male and female, but also those who identify as transgender, FTM, MTF, and gender queer, among others. The traditional gender binary is problematic for many people, and can often force residents to live in a situation that they may not be comfortable in. The gender-neutral housing option offers residents a new and dynamic opportunity to be assigned a roommate with whom they will be comfortable living.
Only students who specifically request to live in gender-neutral housing by completing the Gender-Neutral Housing Questionnaire will be considered for this type of housing. Students who do not wish to be considered for a gender neutral housing assignment do not need to complete this supplemental request form and will be matched with a roommate following our traditional roommate pairing procedures.

If you have any questions regarding our gender-neutral housing option, please contact us at or 415.351.3556. 

Tips for Having a Successful Roommate Experience

It is important to remember that the residents in Sutter and Abby Hall come from a variety of socioeconomic, cultural, and spiritual backgrounds. As a result, everyone comes into housing with different expectations of what living in the residence halls and having a roommate should be. Some of our residents have never lived on their own before, while others have lived on their own prior to attending SFAI. Some students hope to become best friends with their roommates, while others prefer to keep to themselves. Regardless of who you share a room with and what your relationship with that person is, it is important that you are honest with yourself and your roommate about your expectations for the living space, and that you are respectful of your roommate’s needs. In order for you to have the best possible experience in the residence halls, it is important that you begin this honest assessment with your housing application, and that you continue to have open and honest dialogue with your roommate throughout the year.
Within the first two weeks of your time at SFAI, your RA will sit down with you and your roommate(s) to complete a roommate agreement form. Having an open conversation about your lifestyle and expectations can sometimes be difficult, and this process is designed to help you start the conversation. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare to move into the residence hall:

  • How clean do you expect to keep your room?
  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
  • Do you prefer an environment that’s quiet or are you comfortable with noise?
  • Where do you intend to study and complete projects?
  • Which of your belongings can and cannot be borrowed?
  • When are visitors welcome in your room? For how long?
  • How much are you willing to share about your personal life?
  • What do you expect from your roommate?
  • How might your behaviors and preferences impact your roommate?
  • How do you intend to solve disputes?
  • How do you behave when you are angry, depressed, stressed, or happy? How do you expect your roommate to behave when you are experiencing any of these emotions?