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STRIVE U Frequently Asked Questions

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Will a STRIVE U student be able to spend the night off campus at a friend’s house? What if they have responsibilities the next day, i.e. work, an exam?

Yes, students can spend the night off campus even in they have responsibilities the following day— however, the student is responsible for making sure that they have rearranged their schedule so that they can take care of their responsibilities at a different time. Making mistakes and instituting natural consequences is part of the program.

Can students have pets?

Only fish in a ten gallon tank or smaller.

If a student is 21, can they drink alcohol in their apartments?

Students are allowed to drink in their apartments, provided that the student and his/her roommate are both 21. This gives a great opportunity for learning and is an issue students will encounter when they live on their own. To say “no” would be inconsistent with our program philosophy.
Allowing alcohol on campus also allows the staff the opportunity to teach appropriate behavior. Substance abuse prevention and alcohol education will be taught during the first few months of the program. STRIVE U residential policy reflects that STRIVE U students can possess alcohol in their apartments if of legal age, but guests cannot bring alcohol into the residences.

Allowing alcohol into the residences will give staff the opportunity to model hyper-responsible drinking behavior. Essentially, saying “no” to alcohol sends the message that we don’t trust STRIVE U students to make sound decisions. Substance abuse prevention and alcohol education will be taught during orientation week. STRIVE U residential policy reflects that STRIVE U students can possess alcohol in their apartments if of legal age, but guests cannot bring alcohol into the residences.

STRIVE U will adhere to all Maine state laws regarding alcohol.

Can STRIVE U students have overnight visitors? If so, how long can visitors stay?

Yes, students can have overnight visitors. Visitors will sign in with the residential staff. Staff will have the authority to say no to overnight guests if there is a health or safety concern. Guests are permitted to stay for one night; however, exceptions can be made for family members.

What if a student refuses to participate in one aspect of the program, i.e. refuses to work?

When students apply to STRIVE U, they consent to participate in all aspects of the program. Participating in all program areas is obligatory. A student who refuses to participate in all aspects of the program may be asked to leave.

Can students leave the program/campus/Portland for the weekend?

Yes, students can leave. This will be good practice for when students live independently. Again, program curriculum will revolve around the importance of good decision making and more specifically the elements involved with planning a safe and fun trip.

Are healthy relationships addressed?

Yes, teaching healthy relationships is an important part of the STRIVE U curriculum, both friendships with peers and romantic relationships. Students are taught healthy and safe ways to date and engage in relationships.

What if a student wants to go to the store at 10pm? At 1am? Will staff go too?

Yes, students can go to the store whenever they choose. Staff will not accompany STRIVE U students, except during the early stages of the program, as the student is learning the area and how to navigate safely.

Will students be allowed to go to the Old Port at night without staff?

Yes. Our goal is to give students the skills to make these decisions and plan these trips safely.

Can a student with a license transport other STRIVE U students?


What if a parent call and ask us to divulge confidential information about their son/daughter?

In keeping with the program philosophy and federal guidelines, we cannot divulge certain types of information to parents without their child’s consent. Information will be divulged when it’s appropriate and legal. The best source of information about the student, is the student him/herself.

What happens if a student is sick?

If a student is sick, staff will work with him/her to determine if a doctor’s appointment is necessary. If so, we work to schedule an appointment and support the students to the appointment. Generally, if a student is too ill to attend work or class, we recommend that they take the rest of the day to recover, which means that the student may miss outon some social opportunities, but we teach the balance between working through a few sniffles and the need to take a day to rest and recover. If the student is calling out sick, but is not actually sick, the student will face natural consequences i.e. job loss, loss of pay, falling behind in school work etc.

Will students be allowed to refuse medical/dental treatment or medication?

Yes, they can refuse treatment. We will collaborate with medical providers and parents on this issue, if the student consents to this involvement.

What if a student refuses to participate in STRIVE U activities/outings?

It’s okay to refuse to participate, but the importance of trying new things will be discussed.

Is there a curfew?

No. The office is open from 7am – 11pm Monday – Friday and 9am – 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. All students are asked to sign out stating where they are going and when they will be returning. If a student chooses to stay out past the time the office is open, he/she is permitted to do so. In that case, we ask that the student call to let us know they have returned to campus whenever that is.

In the event that students want to go on a Southern Maine Community College trip to Boston for example, can students go without staff?

Yes, students will have the opportunity to travel once they’ve mastered the residential curriculum surrounding travel and planning. If the student would not yet be able to make this trip safely, staff can help the student find an alternative plan. In some instances, staff support may be provided.

How do we handle a student who wants to display materials that may be offensive to others?

Students are free to display what they like, however, it’ll be confined to personal space i.e. their bedroom.

What if a student refuses to shower or attend to personal hygiene for several days?

The importance of good hygiene will be taught, both in the residential curriculum and through daily interactions with staff.

What if a student wants to worship or join a faith other than that of his/her parents?

This is up to each students' discretion.

How are roommate issues handled?

When the students first enter the program, they will sit with one staff person and their roommate and discuss “apartment rules” that they will determine together. Circumstances such as a “guest policy” – does each roommate need to ask before inviting a guest over, or may they just invite someone at their discretion, or whether or not they would like to share personal items such as DVDs. After that initial discussion, roommates have an opportunity to meet each week and discuss anything related to the apartment. These conversations are facilitated by a staff member and cover topics such as cleaning supplies, apartment maintenance, and sharing the space.

We are planning a family vacation. Can my student go?

Yes – we work with the students to treat time away from STRIVE U as “Vacation Time” and each student is permitted to take 10 – 14 days per year at their discretion. We use this as an opportunity to teach the students how to plan for vacations and to learn the appropriate way to request time off from work, any volunteer positions and to discuss with staff what they will need to do ahead of time so that all responsibilities are met before taking a vacation.

I gave my student some money and bought them food. Is this okay to do?

Typically this is fine, once in a while. However, if it is a regular occurrence, the student can become reliant on that additional income, which doesn’t allow the student to learn to work within their budget. We work with the students weekly to check their bank accounts and determine an appropriate budget for the week. Money concepts is difficult to teach and the more time a student has to learn what his/her budget will be like once they graduate, the more successful they will be. The students all receive an $85 check that comes out of tuition which allows for money for groceries, personal care items and social activities. The students also have an activity fund and a residence council fund which can help supplement activities that all the students are participating in.

I think something may be broken in the apt. Who should I talk to?

If something is broken, the students should let the Student Life Coordinator know right away. Staff also check in with the students weekly to ask if there are any maintenance issues, and monthly during apartment walk-throughs. If a repair is needed and it is the landlord’s responsibility, STRIVE U will pay for the cost of the repair, however if maintenance or a repair is required because of misuse, the student is responsible for the repair.

Will student be expected to attend medical appointments by themselves?

If a student has a medical guardian, the medical guardian may be involved in all medical appointments, or as the guardian sees fit. Otherwise, the student may choose whether he or she would like staff support in the appointment.