Your lease is signed and you’ve already moved in…now what? This section provides you with information to keep think about now that you’re settled in including: having friends over, getting around town and to campus, what to do if a storm is coming, safety tips, and overall things to do at JMU and in Harrisonburg.

Having Friends Over?

When entertaining guests at your apartment, there are more things to think about than just who to invite!



First off, most apartment complexes have limited guest parking.  Suggest alternative means of transportation: carpooling, call a taxi, ride the bus, etc.



Always talk to your roommates first.  Before you invite people over, make sure to clear it with all of your roommates so that they do not come home to a house full of people.



Register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540.434.4436.  Instead of sending an officer out for the first noise complaint, HPD will call the host to correct the problem.



Be aware of how much noise you are making.  Loud music and lots of people will draw bigger crowds and can upset the neighbors.  Keep your doors closed and try not to turn the bass amp up too loudly.



Limit the amount of people you invite.  Avoid inviting people publicly on Facebook and other social media sites.  Know everybody that is coming into your apartment.  There are occupancy limits for a reason!



Have a sober host in your apartment at all times.  If there are unwanted people that will not leave, call the police.



Remember, it is your apartment.  Only you can make sure that you follow the right steps to keep your apartment a safe and fun environment!

Now That You Have Moved In

There are a lot of things to think about!

Grocery List- Apps

There’s an app for everything these days.  Here are seven apps you can use to digitalize your shopping list and make grocery shopping easier: Grocery List Apps

Chores List

While it’s up to you and your roommate(s) to decide how to distribute chores, check out our Sample Chore List (PDF) for an idea of what needs to be cleaned throughout your house.

Decorations

Now that you’ve finally moved off campus, you will want to live in a place you can make your own.  Check out these tips for decorating your apartment.   Pintrest and other sites have great ideas as well!  Just be sure to check with your landlord or manager before you modify too much.
Homeguides  “How to Decorate a College Apartment”
EHow “How to Decorate your College Apartment”
Apt2B “Tips on Decorating your College Apartment: Living Room”

Need a Ride? Jump on a Bus!

Harrisonburg offers a great service to JMU students: Free Bus Rides!  Many off-campus living areas are on bus routes that can get you almost anywhere in Harrisonburg.

Check out the HDPT website for schedules, information, and more.  Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation

Need an app about bus routes for your smart phone?  There are a few options: one was created by a former JMU student!

 

Want to Eat on Campus?

Don’t know how to cook?  Don’t want to cook?  Miss JMU food?  Don’t worry!  Check out these Commuter Meal Plans.

How to Prepare for a Storm

Storm Prep

A great resource for preparing yourself is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.  Their website provides information regarding several different types of disasters and how to prepare and react to each.  Listed below is a list of basic supplies that could be included in an emergency kit (All information came from FEMA’s website).

  • Food
  • Water
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Tools

 

Things to do, and places to eat

Looking to leave your apartment or house and explore Harrisonburg for a while?  There is a lot to do, and many good restaurants around town!

Downtown Harrisonburg has a lot of different restaurants and entertainment.  Check out the “Do Downtown” Website for more information.

Interested in what different events are coming up?  Go to the Harrisonburg Event Calendar and check out future events.

Need a list of possible Restaurants to go to?  Try using this Google Map and see what your options are.

Trying to find a grocery store nearby?  Here is a link to all of the grocery stores in Harrisonburg.

Want to see a movie or a play?  Try Regal Cinemas on University Boulevard or Court Square Theatre located downtown.

Looking for on campus entertainment?  Check out UPB’s website for events and cheap movies in Grafton-Stovall Theatre.

Safety

Whether you are looking for an apartment, signing a lease, already moved in, or on your way out safety is a major concern!  Below is a list of tips on how to make your apartment a safe environment so that you can enjoy your time living Off Campus to its fullest!

 

JMU’s EFFORTS TO KEEP YOU SAFE:

  • JMU has created a Safety Task Force to analyze possible solutions and changes to be made to keep the community safe.
  • Public Safety has 4 officers assigned to off campus patrols, not including the 25 officers assigned to on campus patrol.
  • Safety escorts are available to any student on campus, free of charge.  Escorts are provided by carefully screened and trained student employees known as the Campus Police Cadets. Cadets are on duty 7pm – 2am Sunday-Wednesday, 9pm-2am Thursday, and 9pm-3am Friday and Saturday.  Police officers will provide any escorts outside of those time periods.
  • JMU SafeRides is a student run, non-profit organization whose mission is to create a safer community for the city of Harrisonburg. Members work to prevent drunk driving by educating JMU students, fundraising to help support our mission, and providing free rides home for JMU students. If you are a JMU student and need a ride home over the weekend, please feel free to call us at 540.JMU.RIDE (540.568.7433)! No matter where you are in Harrisonburg, we are here for you!
  • Public Safety offers educational crime prevention opportunities throughout the year.
  • Timely Notifications are issued by the James Madison University Police, giving notice of acts that could pose as a Possible Threat, that reportedly occurred on or near the campus of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Until the investigation of the specific act has been concluded, it can be assumed that conditions continue to exist that may pose a threat to members and guests of the community. It is the duty of the institution to warn of possible “dangerous conditions” on its property; an “affirmative duty” exists to warn of possible peril at the hands of some third party.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

Secure your property

  • Utilize door locks whenever possible.  If you have lost a key, please contact your property manager to receive a replacement.
  • Close and lock all windows and sliding glass doors.  Place wooden dowel in sliding glass door track.  (You can purchase wooden dowels at a local hardware store.)
  • Utilize blinds and shades, especially at night.
  • Place all valuables out of site when parking your vehicle. Secure them in the trunk and lock your doors.  Try to leave vehicle parked under a light.
  • Call the police, if uninvited guests won’t leave.

 

Host a safe party

  • Report suspicious people or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540.434.4436.  Instead of sending an officer out for the first noise complaint, HPD will call the host to correct the problem.
  • Have a guest list – know who is in your home.
  • Call the police, if uninvited guests won’t leave.
  • Have a sober host on the premises at all times.
  • Keep it small. Be aware occupancy limits. Beware of overcrowding wooden decks.
  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and secure or hide valuables.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption of guests.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food.

 

When attending a party

    • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, leave the area.
    • Report suspicious people or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
    • Stay with friends. Look out for each other.
    • Know the hosts of the party you are attending.
    • Drink responsibly.  Do not drink to excess.
    • Secure a safe way to get home, such as a bus, taxi or JMU SafeRides (540.568.7433).
    • Carry only the ID and money you’ll need for the night.
    • Be considerate of others and respectful of property.

Traveling by foot

      • Use well lit and well-traveled areas: Avoid dark and deserted areas, such as railroad tracks, or shortcuts.
      • Do not walk or jog alone.
      • Utilize the sidewalk at all times.  If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the roadway, always walk facing traffic.
      • Do not approach an unknown car if it follows your, or the driver beckons you while you are walking. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
      • Do not resist or attempt to fool a robber.

Other tips

      • Do not make it easy for thieves. They are on the lookout for items left unattended. It takes only seconds to grab your property and get away.
      • Use common sense.  Trust your instincts and listen to that gut feeling.
      • Report all crimes: When reporting a crime or suspicious activity, give the dispatcher all the information you have. If the crime is occurring during your call, stay on the line until the officer arrives.

 

Report Suspicious Activity Immediately

      • Look out for your neighbors and call the local police immediately if you observe suspicious activity.

JMU Police 540.568.6913

Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Police (Emergency Communications Center)   540.434.4436

Call 911 for EMERGENCIES!

 

For additional public safety information visit JMU Public Safety’s Website.

To see a comprehensive list of JMU Timely Notifications visit Public Safety’s Incident Listing page.

To see reports on criminal activity throughout Harrisonburg visit the Crime Reports website.

Follow us on Facebook at JMU Off Campus Life for more tips.

Making Your Place Home

Your lease is signed and you’ve already moved in…now what?

Adjusting to life in your own place off-campus involves making your apartment a home away from home, learning your way around the community, meeting new people and building relationships, and staying involved and connected to campus. This section provides information to help you as you make your place home, including tips for having friends over, getting around town and to campus, what to do if a storm is coming, staying safe, and overall things to do at JMU and in Harrisonburg.

Looking for a Job?

Living off-campus may require you to work to help pay for expenses like transportation, food, and utilities. Working while in school can also help in learning time management skills and in building skills and experience to add to a resume.

As a student, you have options of working on or off-campus.
For on-campus job opportunities, go to JMU Joblink or to Dining Service’s Website to search for any available positions.

You can also visit JMU’s Off-Campus Job Announcements page which provides information on known off-campus work opportunities.

Additional questions regarding student job opportunities can be addressed by visiting the Student Work Experience Center on the 5th Floor of the Student Success Center or checking out their website.

Guide to Living Downtown

If you live in a property downtown there are city ordinances that apply to you and your housemates. These ordinances include regulations about trash collection, recycling, snow and ice removal, parking, noise violations, and ways to register parties with the Harrisonburg Police Department. We encourage you to visit the City of Harrisonburg website for information about all these various policies so you are aware of the extra responsibilities of living in a home downtown.

Below are some links to the City of Harrisonburg website for ordinance areas where we see students getting the most violations because of difficulty with knowing the City of Harrisonburg regulations.  Below each link is a list of basic information that can be found through the link on these ordinances.

Trash Removal

  • Provides information on the single stream collection for recycling
  • Lists trash pick-up dates/ schedule for downtown
  • Provides contact information for Public Works should trash collection questions come up

Parking Policies

  • Provides information on where parking is located in the downtown area
  • Gives a map of parking permit areas in Harrisonburg and enforcement of parking policies

Moving to Harrisonburg

  • Provides some helpful resources for students or others moving to the Harrisonburg area, including information on vehicle registration, electricity, gas, and water and sewer companies, trash, public transportation, and pet policies.

Snow, Sleet, and Ice Removal

  • Provides information on the newly adopted ordinance for snow, sleet, and ice removal in Downtown Harrisonburg.

Noise Ordinances

Nighttime. No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level in excess of fifty-five (55) dBA when measured at or outside the property boundary between the hours 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Daytime. No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level in excess of sixty-five (65) dBA when measured at or outside the property boundary between the hours 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Punishment. Where no conviction under this section has occurred within the preceding three (3) years of the date of the offense, the defendant shall be convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor and sentenced according to state law in the discretion of the court, however, the city counsel recommends the sentence include fifty (50) hours community service. For each subsequent conviction of a violation of this section within three (3) years, the defendant shall be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor and sentenced according to state law in the discretion of the court, however, the city council recommends the sentence to include on hundred (100) hours of community service.

Register your Party

Be smart and register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540-434-4436 –

Why?

  • HPD will call you at the first noise complaint instead of sending an officer
  •  Have a guest list – know who is in your home.
  • If uninvited guests won’t leave, call the police.
  • Have a sober host on the premises at all times.
  • Keep it small. Be aware of occupancy limits. Beware of overcrowding wooden decks.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption of guests.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food.
  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and secure valuables.
  • Report suspicious persons or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Be considerate of others and respectful of property

Junk Ordinance

The city reminds residents in Section 6-2-6 of the Code of the City of Harrisonburg about the accumulation of junk, rubbish or garbage on premises in open view. According to the ordinance, it is unlawful for any person to place or leave on any property in the city any indoor furniture, dilapidated furniture, appliance, machinery, equipment, building material, or other item(s) which are either in a wholly or partially rusted, wrecked, junked, dismantled or inoperative condition and which is not completely enclosed within a building or dwelling. Any such item which remains on the property of any occupant for a period of ten (10) days after notice of violation of this section shall be presumed to be abandoned and subject to being removed from the property by the city without further notice with the cost of such removal being charged back to the owner of the premises.

 

Follow these guidelines and be considerate of your neighbors and surrounding Harrisonburg Community!

 

Things You Should Know As A Neighbor:

After you move in, even as a renter, you assume some basic rights and responsibilities with your neighborhood.  These are as important as the rental agreement, though probably not specifically defined.

  1. Be a Good Neighbor
    • Introduce yourself to your new neighbors.
    • Be conscious of your noise level, especially during the week.
    • If you are planning a party, tell your neighbors ahead of time.
    • When you have several guests at the same time, let them know where to park.
    • Offer to assist your neighbors with special projects.
    • Make sure your landlord maintains the appearance of your house or apartment so that it meets neighborhood standards.
    • Help keep your property, yard, and neighborhood clean and tidy.
    • Educate yourself on the city’s noise and alcohol ordinances.  Copies are available in the Off-Campus Life office.