Residence Life

The Residence Life program at Penn State Altoona strives to provide our students with the opportunity to establish a connection with fellow residents, student mentors, and professional staff. Our office seeks to initiate and enhance the social, academic, and leadership skills of our residents through educational programming, community building, and personal contact.

Penn State Altoona Residence Life plays an essential role in the education of students. We have established an Educational Priority that outlines our commitment to facilitating learning outside of the classroom. Our Educational Priority is built on the principles of “Respect, Responsibility and Community.” Our Educational Priority is to enable residents to develop respect and responsibility and to work together for the betterment of residence life, Penn State Altoona and the rest of the world.

The professional staff and Resident Assistants in the Office of Residence Life believe in a structured, well-executed plan for student transition and development. This provides each resident with the ability to grow personally and academically. Residence Life supports and encourages students to challenge themselves in their everyday life while studying and living at Penn State Altoona.

Professional Staff

Director of Residence Life – The director is responsible for the day-to-day administrative duties of the Office of Residence Life. He/she supervises and provides guidance to the Resident Assistants (RA) and Residence Life Coordinators. It is the director’s responsibility to ensure all residence halls are run in accordance with all Penn State Altoona policies and community standards. The Residence Life main office is located in 130 Spruce Hall, 814-949-5710 or via email at

Residence Life Coordinators – These are professional staff members, trained in areas such as counseling, mediation, building management, discipline, and crisis. Each building has an assigned Residence Life Coordinator and each building has a live-in professional staff member to increase supervision in the halls. Coordinators have experience with many aspects of residence hall management and student development. Moreover, the coordinators meet with students to discuss policy-related matters via the community standards process. The staff also plan educational and social programs and promote the safety and security of the residents.

Administrative Assistant – The administrative assistant provides administrative duties and additional support to the professional and para-professional staff members.

Para-professional Staff

Resident Assistant – Each resident has an RA to whom they can go for assistance with roommate conflicts, academics, social concerns, and residence hall issues, among other things. The RAs are trained through a collegiate level three-credit course on many issues concerning college age students and how to promote growth in these areas through community building within the living environment. Resident Assistants play vital roles in achieving the goals of the Office of Residence Life.

How to become a Resident Assistant

Each fall the Office of Residence Life accepts applications for the Resident Assistant position. Attaining the Resident Assistant position is a year-long process beginning in the fall semester and ending with the offer at the end of the spring semester.


  • 2.4 cumulative grade point average
  • Successful completion of 3 credit course during the spring semester
  • Good standing with the University
  • Twelve credits completed upon position offer
  • Successful background check

You do not need to live on campus prior to applying.


  • Free meal plan
  • Tuition stipend
  • Free room and board
  • Development of leadership, basic counseling, and team-building skills
  • Resume builder
  • New friends and personal challenges


Application information and deadlines are posted throughout the campus each fall semester in mid-September. Students will need to attend an information session sometime in September to receive further information on the application process.


Call 814-949-5710 or email

Residence Hall Policies

All students are obligated to abide by University Policies and Rules and residence hall policies while in residence and/or enrolled as a Penn State student.

All residential students are obligated to abide by the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of the Housing and Food Service Contract they have acknowledged and submitted. This includes assuming financial responsibility and meeting financial obligations for the entire contract period through the end of spring semester.

The policies relate directly to the health and safety of the residents and the security and condition of the residence halls. Since the initiative and ultimate responsibility lies with the individual student, it is expected that all residents will read and become aware of these policies as they are written in the Student Guide to University Policies and Rules and their Housing and Food Service Contract. Violations of any of these policies will result in some form of disciplinary action, which could lead to losing the privilege of living in the residence halls and/or affect your status as a Penn State student. Students must comply with the policies that exist, with requests for identification and provide accurate information to college officials.

Office of Residence Life Services

  • Roommate Conflict Mediation – Upon request or if deemed necessary
  • Room Switches – Upon request or if deemed necessary

On-call coverage

  • Resident Assistants – Every evening 8 p.m. – 8 a.m.
  • Professional Staff – Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Weekends 24 hour coverage


Days Times Actions
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please go to the Housing office located in Port Sky
Monday – Friday 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Please go to the Spruce RA office or call 814-940-3302
Monday – Friday 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. Contact the RA on duty (Posted in each lobby and outside every RA Door)
Weekends 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. Go to Port Sky, contact any RA, or call University Police
Weekends 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. Contact the RA on duty (Posted in each lobby and outside every RA Door)

Special Living Options

DISCOVER is a developmental and exploratory environment for students who are entering college unsure of their future plans or major area of study. DISCOVER connects residents to on-campus resources, provides educational and social programming and creates an environment for residents to actively explore, question and pilot their decisions. Students who live in Maple and Oak Halls have access to resources to assist them in the exploration of their major and career aspirations.

L.I.F.E. (Living in a Free Environment) is an interactive and engaging living-learning environment in which its members promise to abstain from the use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products at all times. LIFE offers many leadership opportunities for students on LIFE Council, such as president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and many other chair positions. The Resident Assistants in LIFE are specially trained to gear both their educational and social programs toward individuals who have chosen to engage in a substance-free lifestyle. These programs will take place consistently throughout each semester and many of the social programs will take place on weekends to give residents an on-campus outlet for socialization and friendship. Many of the educational programs will give students an opportunity to challenge and explore their personal values and ideals, along with giving residents great knowledge and personal growth.

Residence Hall Association

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) empowers residents living at Penn State Altoona to have an active role in their community. RHA serves the halls by providing programs and addressing the needs and concerns of the residents in the hall. RHA’s overall goal is to improve the quality of living in the Penn State Altoona residence halls.

RHA is a student-run organization driven to provide a voice for the students living at Penn State Altoona. RHA has twenty-three active members, representing each hall. RHA has four executive members, president, vice president, treasurer, and a secretary. All members of the RHA organization work together to provide a safe and secure living community for those students who reside on campus.

The Blue and White Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary

Excellence in scholastics … role models of service … bestowers of recognition … exercisers of leadership. As the premiere honorary dedicated to recognizing the top one % of leaders living in the residence halls, the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) acknowledges those leaders who always go above and beyond the call of duty making their collegiate experience living in the residence hall more than living in a “dorm.”

The Blue and White Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary is a young organization at Penn State Altoona. It strives to recognize those students who go above and beyond for the residence hall community.

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