For Parents

Welcome Parents!

Picture8This section provides information about what your daughter should expect when living in Steel House. We know it can be difficult for you to send your daughter off to college so our goal is to help you work with her to make the best decision on where to live while attending the University of Idaho.

Steel House is a unique environment where the women learn how to manage a house with guidance from alumni who lived in Steel House while they were in college. After a year of living in the house, residents can apply for scholarships to be in charge of the chores, purchase groceries, work on menus, manage recruiting events, work with the budget, purchase and learn how to use cleaning items and equipment, and learn how to address and resolve the many social issues that college students deal with on a day-to-day basis.

With the guidance of an active alumni board, residents of Steel House are asked to learn how to work with 30 or more residents all living under the same roof. The executive board (student governing board) works together to run an efficient house while learning from alumni the best methods of doing that. Although guidance is provided, residents are encouraged to make their own choices. Some choices work better than others. But, that’s all part of graduating into being a responsible adult. The residents have coined the term “adulting” for adventures in managing their lives beyond high school. 

Steel HouseStudents exchange work and various leadership experiences for lower fees, often nearly $2,000 per year less than other on-campus living options. This comes with responsibility where students need to learn to juggle living life with school work. This would be no different than working a full-time job and still having to come home every day, clean the house, cook, and deal with household finances. Yes, school is very important. However, part of the “cooperative” living experience is to help students understand what it takes to live on their own, deal with people from all walks and experiences in life, and learn to be leaders. It’s not always going to be easy because people will be people.

Please read through all the the sections on the “Sign Up” page and everything else under the “Residents Page.” If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to use the “contact us” form to submit your questions.

Please note…

Once your daughter has turned 18, the University of Idaho and the living group she chooses cannot share any information with you concerning her contract, deposit, or specifics about what’s going on with her in her living environment. This is for her protection and is a violation of FERPA and the Privacy Act for us to discuss any details concerning issues she may have. We can release general directory information to you but nothing more. We do get parent calls from time to time so please understand that as much as we’d like to speak with you, we are bound by certain US laws that keep us from doing so.

It’s at this time we’d like to encourage you to work with your daughter on how she’s going to deal with life away from home. Because she will be living with other people and may not always agree with the choices made by those people, we encourage students to find a healthy outlet for frustrations that will arise. Visiting the counseling center, regular visits with people she trusts, and having healthy relationships, are all encouraged.



Guidelines for learning to live with a large group of people: We encourage you to go over this list with your daughter before she attends the University of Idaho. 

  • If someone upsets a resident, social media is not the place to vent. Please go directly to the person and speak with them rather than gossiping or complaining to others. 100% of the time, complaining does nothing but hurt feelings in addition to causing a variety of other issues.
  • Potential employers always find a way to see what’s posted on social media. So, please keep that in mind when making a decision to vent frustrations.
  • The leadership in the house will not always get it right! Encourage your daughter to go directly to the people involved if there’s a problem. And, do it right away! Once that has been done and there’s been no resolution, Steel House has a “Standards Board” where unresolved issues can be presented.
  • Please remember that the house is run by the residents (chores, guidelines for living as a group, etc.). They will not always make the best choices. They have to learn to live with those choices. Alumni are responsible for providing a safe home to live in, food, paying the utilities, making sure all the equipment is working correctly, working with the cook to provide healthy meals, etc. However, the Board of Directors makes every attempt to stay out of how the residents choose to set their own guidelines.
  • Steel House has a resident adviser and house president whom the residents may share personal issues with. We encourage all residents to make every effort to get to know them. They are there to help resolve whatever may arise concerning house guidelines and/or difficulty in working with fellow residents.
  • The role of the house administrator is mostly that of helping the scholarship officers learn how to do their jobs, work with the university on making sure Steel House is compliant with all University of Idaho guidelines, manage the website, deal with all the contracts (housing agreement, check-in, check-out, etc.) and help recruit and work with new residents. However, she is also a resource if residents need a listening ear.


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