You are here: American University Student Affairs Housing & Residence Life Living in DC: Community

Community Living in DC

After you've signed your lease and moved in, it's time to begin taking part in your new community. Refresh your knowledge and learn something new about personal safety and sustainability.

  • Keep an eye out for community events in your area to learn more about your area and interact with your neighbors.
  • Get to know your neighborhood and find your nearby grocery stores, places to grab dinner, parks, or study spots.
  • Get to know your neighborhood to get a feel for the area where you are living and determine if there are any parts you would want to avoid
  • Get involved by volunteering (visit the Center for Community Engagement & Service for opportunities)
  • Remember to always be courteous and friendly!

Check out our Good Neighbor Guide graphic [pdf] for advice and tips on being a great neighbor.

  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors
  • If you see something, say something, by reporting all crime and suspicious activity
  • Be courteous and polite, especially around neighborhood children
  • Be aware of your noise levels
  • Keep visible property and community space clean
  • Don't let mess from your apartment affect those around you by keeping your trash contained
  • Keep your parties under control and let your neighbors know beforehand
  • Your pets are your responsibility, so clean up after them and make sure their noise levels don't bother neighbors
  • Know your local and community laws

Check out our personal safety graphic [pdf] for advice and tips on staying safe in D.C.

  • Walk with another person or a group when possible
  • If you must walk alone, stay in well-lit and heavily trafficked areas
  • Be aware that if your light is on at night, people can see into your home unless you draw your curtains
  • Have your keys ready before you get to your building or house
  • Don't be distracted with headphones, and be aware of your surroundings
  • Know when the metro closes, since trains run less frequently later in the evening
  • It's better to not use an ATM at night, but if you do, use an ATM you are familiar with and that is in a well-lit area
  • Be careful when crossing the street and make sure drivers can see you

Check out our going green graphic [pdf] for advice and tips on living green while off campus.

  • Bring your own backpack or tote to the store and think about how much you'll carry back to avoid buying items you don't need
  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room and save money on electric bills
  • Unplug electronics and small appliances when not in use
  • Buy fresh and local, and visit the AU Farmers Market on Wednesdays
  • Air-dry your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer
  • Bring your own mug thermos when going to the coffee shop (you can earn stamps to a free coffee at The Davenport)
  • Print double sided to use less paper and reduce waste
  • Don't let food go to waste by packing leftovers for lunch
  • If your destination is close by, walk to burn calories instead of gasoline
  • Use long-lasting, energy-efficient lightbulbs
  • Save water by doing larger loads of laundry
  • Ditch the plastic and stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle (filtered water stations are all over campus
  • Take the metro
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle

Visit the Office of Sustainability for more ideas on living green.