Family & Friends

Welcome to UAlberta Residences! This section has been created for the friends and family of new students. We hope that you will come away with your questions answered, feeling better able to help your loved one adjust to life in residence at the University of Alberta. It takes a lot of hard work to secure a spot at university and the support provided to students by friends and family is invaluable. Your student will be tackling new challenges throughout their university experience; your continued support and encouragement will be necessary to ease the transition into life away from home.

The experience

family and friends

The pursuit of a university education is a life changing experience for most students. Living in residence can help ease the transition.

Adjusting to residence

Students must make many adjustments in the first weeks and months of life in residence.

Your student might be getting used to living with a roommate after a life spent having their own room. Or maybe moving to residence means moving to the city from a rural area - the population of Lister Centre alone is larger than some towns! Perhaps your student will have to navigate cultural differences upon arriving in Canada for school.

Whether students approach life in residence with excitement or anxiety, they are likely to find it difficult to let go of the familiarity of home in favour of the unknown.

Some degree of homesickness is inevitable and you may notice a high frequency of phone calls in the period shortly after move-in.

Be sympathetic; think about your first experience away from home. Let your student know that you have confidence in their ability to flourish at university and remind them that you are only a phone call away. Consider sending a calling card, so they can call home without incurring a personal expense. You may also wish to make plans to meet over the October long weekend. Keep in touch with your student by writing them a letter or sending them a care package when they least expect it.

Most of all, remember that the Residence Services staff see the same adjustment issues every year. We are skilled in handling your student's concerns.

Within the first few weeks of the semester, we create many opportunities for our residents to get to know one another. We also offer programming to help with the lifestyle changes that occur upon arrival in residence. The 'Can I Kiss You'? program in Lister Centre, for example, teaches residents about the hallmarks of respectful relationships.

Living with roommates

Students living in shared accommodation may or may not know their new roommate(s). Whether or not there is a pre-existing relationship between roommates, some amount of conflict, however minor, is bound to occur. It is through the experience of living with roommates that students learn important lessons about conflict resolution and assertiveness.

As a friend or family member, you may receive a phone call from your student regarding roommate issues. Try your best not to take sides and reassert your belief in their ability to resolve their own problems. If explicitly asked for help, offer some suggestions. You may encourage your student to contact a member of the Residence Services staff such as their Resident Assistant, Floor Coordinator or Residence Coordinator. These staff are trained mediators and can help all parties discuss their problems openly and maturely.

Both you and your student should rest assured that most issues can be resolved, resulting in a stronger roommate bond.

Food and nutrition

 A nutritious diet is part of the foundation for student success.

For those residents of Lister Centre, Peter Lougheed Hall and Augustana, a meal plan ensures access to healthy, varied food choices without the need for grocery shopping and meal preparation. Information about the Lister Hall and Peter Lougheed Hall meal plan is available here

Information regarding the Augustana meal plan can be found on the Augustana Residence Services website.

Students living in our other residences are free to load money onto their student ONEcards and swipe their cards to purchase food at venues across campus.

Safety and security

Like you, we place a high value on your student’s safety and security – these are essential to a happy residence experience. Residence Services employs a wide variety of security measures - alone and in conjunction with University of Alberta Protective Services (UAPS) - to ensure our residents' safety.

A few of these measures are:

  • ID checkpoints
  • Door buzzers and proximity access cards
  • Security cameras
  • Single-button emergency contact through any campus payphone
  • 24 hour on-call Residence Services staff

In addition, UAPS serves our residence communities. Protective Services ensures that our residents are informed about campus-wide security initiatives.

Academic advantages

Did you know that research indicates that students living in residence are in a better position to succeed academically, relative to those living off-campus?

As a University of Alberta resident, your student will live on (or in close proximity to) campus. This convenience increases access to professors and advisers, as well as the University's world-class libraries. Through residence messaging, your student is more likely to hear about and engage in the academic support services available on campus.

Residence Life also offers in-house programming and services such as peer tutoring, study lounges and résumé workshops. Theses services are tailored for the student group living in each residence.

For information about Lister Centre specific academic opportunities, please visit our Lister Academic Advantage page.

Concern about academics

It is difficult for incoming students to understand what academic changes they will experience while transitioning from high school to university.

Classes move at a brisk pace and the volume of work can feel overwhelming. Students who graduated from high school at the top of their class may find that they are not achieving the high marks they expect, resulting in anxiety and self-doubt.

Don't be discouraged by changes in your student's grades. University is a competitive environment and, on average, marks do fall during the transition period. Keep in mind that grades will tend to rise as your student moves through their program. Encourage your student to talk to you about the struggles they may be facing and stay informed about the resources available to them.

Refrain from telling your student to forego all of their extracurricular activities - students who have non-academic outlets for stress relief will achieve more! At the same time, some students may be used to participating in every extra-curricular available - reducing the number of activities they take part in may help students balance their time while transitioning to university life.

A little guidance and a lot of encouragement will help your student find their way to academic success.

If your loved one is a resident of Lister Centre, they may wish to meet with the Academic-in-Residence for academic advice or participate in residence tutoring programs. On-campus resources include the Student Success Centre and faculty advisers.

What to expect during visits home

Friends and family are sure to notice a change in their student when they return home for the first time. You may find it difficult to adjust to the “new” version of your student. Old friends might be thrown off by stories of new people and places. Family members may notice greater assertiveness and independence. In many respects, the return to home means a period of readjustment and re-acquaintance. Make time to listen to your student’s stories. Encourage them to share photos so you can become familiar with the new people in their world. Actively engage them in family life - even if that means explicitly asking them to get involved. Resist overreacting to changes in physical appearance.

Preparing to move in

family and friends

Congratulations! Your student has been offered a space in residence. The next step will mark the start of a new journey.

Housing procedures

The answers to many of your housing procedure questions are located in the Incoming Residents section of our website. This information will be helpful to family and new students.

For any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. If your inquiry is specific to your student, rather than a general question regarding move-in policies or timelines, please have your student contact us directly to avoid any conflict with privacy policies.

Privacy information


Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP) was created to govern public bodies for the purpose of: outlining the rights to access of information that is collected thus ensuring openness and accountability, and protecting the privacy of individuals by regulating the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. The University of Alberta Information and Privacy Office has established guidelines for the implementation of the Act as it relates to the campus community.

What Does the Act Mean for Parents and Students?

The University of Alberta and Residence Services are required to abide by the Alberta Government’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy policy (FOIPP). This policy restricts Residence Services from providing any information about residents to third parties, including parents. Room numbers, addresses, phone numbers, marks, account balances, etc. are all private information that cannot be released without a resident's permission.

If residents want parents or any third party to have access to information, they must complete and submit an Information Release Authorization Form. This form is available within your student's residence account.

Further details on UAlberta's FOIPP policies can be found online at the Information and Privacy Office website at More information on the provincial act itself can be found on the Government of Alberta website at

Residence payment information

Rent, contract fees and other payments regarding each contract or lease with Residence Services are all paid on Bear Tracks.

For details about residence payments visit Payment Information.


Students are strongly advised to obtain property and general liability insurance coverage to insure their personal property against loss or damage by fire, flood, theft and other perils. The University of Alberta assumes no responsibility for any damages that may occur to their personal belongings, whatever the cause. Check your own home insurance policy as your student may already be covered under your plan.

Keeping in touch

family and friends

As your student adjusts to living in residence at the University of Alberta, the support of family and friends can make a world of difference.

Contacting your student

Ensure that you have specific contact information for your student before you leave on Move-In Day, as you will not be able to contact your student through Residence Services. If you are coming to visit your student, please ensure that you know how to contact them before you arrive as we will not be able to contact your student for you. Be aware that your student will be very busy during the adjustment to university life and may not answer all telephone calls. We recommend setting up a communication routine or schedule with your student to prevent you from worrying when they get busy with their studies and activities (i.e. set a regular day and time when you are both free to talk). Try using email or texting to touch base as your student may be too busy to respond to telephone calls.

Visiting your student

If you are planning a visit from out of town, and would like to stay on campus, Student & Guest Services at Lister Centre offers 20 hotel-style guest rooms, available year round.

Care packages

Care packages and other mail are a great way to remind your student that you’re thinking about them. Here are our top package stuffers:

  • socks and underwear
  • homemade baking (enough to share)
  • favourite snack food
  • toiletries (shaving cream, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  • money or gift certificates to favourite restaurants and stores
  • photos of family, friends, pets
  • flowers or grocery deliveries
Sending mail or packages

Mail from Canada Post or a courier service is first delivered to the UAlberta Central Distribution facility where it is sorted and sent to the specific residence to which it has been addressed. Because of the sorting/ delivery process, please add an additional 2-3 business days to the delivery guidelines set out by the courier service or Canada Post. This means that even if you send a package by Priority Post, it will not arrive at its final destination until 2-3 business days after it has arrived at Central Distribution.

CLICK HERE for mailing addresses of our various residences.