Finance and Operations

Decorate Safely for the Holidays: Guidelines for on-campus housing


The holidays are approaching and that often brings festive decorations to campus. Before you start decorating in your residence hall or on-campus apartment, review the following guidelines related to holiday decorations.


  • Small artificial trees are allowed but must be marked UL-approved and fire-resistant. Cut or live trees and wreaths are prohibited.


  • Electric miniature lights are permitted inside student rooms but are limited to two strands per resident per room or less, as listed in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • All electrical decorations must bear the UL label and should only be used as rated for indoor applications.
  • All cords and lighting strings should be checked for fraying, bare wires, loose connections and cracked plugs. Use only UL-approved surge protectors with built-in overload protection (breakers).
  • Do not wrap lights around bedposts or bedframes or hang them underneath. This causes wires to fray and could be a fire hazard.


  • Open flames, such as candles, are prohibited in residence halls or apartments. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.

Additional Guidelines

  • Only non-flammable or fire-retardant holiday decorations may be used.
  • The use of glitter or straw is prohibited.
  • Doors shall not be gift-wrapped. Excessive decorations or decorations made of highly flammable materials (crepe paper, leaves, etc.) are prohibited.
  • Decorations cannot be attached to, blocking or suspended from sprinkler pipes, smoke detectors, electrical systems, light fixtures, cameras, ceilings, stairways, exit signs, exits, or anything that would block hallways or exits.
  • Keep all lights and decorations away from all combustible items. All decorations must be turned off before leaving the room.
  • Decorations shall not impinge the operation of windows or in-room heating and cooling units.
  • All decorations must be removed before leaving for Winter Break.