Nov 302011
Authors: Kate Winkle

For freshman business major Nicolle Fagan, the green garland and paper snowflakes strewn across her room in Edwards Hall are more than just a way to get in the holiday spirit.

“(Decorating) personalizes the space,” Fagan said. “It makes it feel like a home away from home.”

And while CSU supports room personalization in the residence halls, students, like Fagan, must comply with safety and security standards enforced by Housing and Dining Services (HDS).

Decoration standards, according to the HDS website, prohibit hanging items from ceilings. The use of hanging materials such as duct tape, foam tape, nails or screws on the walls is also prohibited.

“We couldn’t hang any snowflakes from the ceiling, which was kind of disappointing,” Fagan said.

Unsafe holiday decorations have been contributors to residence hall fire damage and loss of life across the country, according to the Housing and Dining Fire Escape and Safety guidelines.

Students are only allowed to use artificial trees, and unlit candles are not permitted in the dorms at any time. Holiday lights also cannot block door or window access to the room in case of an emergency.

Residents who do not follow these guidelines are responsible for the costs of any damage to their room.

With safety regulations in place, the windows of Edwards Hall glow from the multicolored lights, as doors, covered in wrapping paper and tinsel, exude the holiday spirit.

“I like it,” said freshman business and art double major Kat Egleston, whose room boasts purple lights and winter window stickers. “Things change; it’s not the same boring dorm all year.”

Winter holidays celebrated by CSU students include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice, among others.

“I pretty much respect every religious view,” Egleston said. “If they put up a Menorah I wouldn’t be offended or anything, as long as (decorations are) all equal.”

Decorations aren’t reserved for students, however.

John Malsam, Assistant Director of Residence Life, said, in an email to the Collegian, “As Housing and Dining Staff we are welcome to decorate our offices and other public spaces within the halls so long as we are inclusive of the many holiday traditions and observances that occur in the winter months.”

Winter holiday decorations can be enjoyed by all and remain for an unlimited time in the halls so long as students are safe and abide by the rules, Malsam added.

Collegian reporter Kate Winkle can be reached at

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