Special Living Options

Columbia prides itself on the diversity of the student body on campus. There are a number of special living arrangements that accommodate the needs and interests of our students. Special housing options are available for all students who wish to apply. Learn about certain eligibility requirements and application process before participating in Room Selection.

About the LLC

The Living-Learning Center (LLC) is comprised of Hartley and Wallach Halls, and is the only all-class, integrated residence hall at Columbia University. The LLC enables students to build mentoring relationships by learning from each other's experience and knowledge. The interactions fostered between first-year and upperclass students help ease the transition of first-year students into campus and University life, facilitating on-campus involvement. The Faculty-in-Residence in Hartley Hall and the Dean-in-Residence in Wallach Hall open their homes to prominent faculty and alumni guests and students living in the LLC throughout the year.

Eligibility

All students are eligible to reside in the LLC, but must commit to the program through planning and attending programs. Upperclass students must complete an application through Residential Life and are selected by the Associate Director (AD) and Graduate Hall Director (GHD). First-year students wishing to reside in the LLC must indicate Hartley or Wallach as one of their top housing preferences on the Housing application.

Apply to the LLC

All CC/SEAS undergraduate students will receive an email in January detailing the LLC application process for Rising Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors. Please contact Residential Life at reslife@columbia.edu for more information about the LLC.

Assignment Procedures

Students selected for the LLC participate in a separate room selection process prior to standard Room Selection. Students must register for Room Selection online through the Housing Portal and complete their Housing application, including the Statement of Intent and the Occupancy Agreement step.

About SIC Housing

The Special Interest Communities (SIC) Program is designed to promote the cultural, intellectual, and social development of students living in the undergraduate residence halls. SICs allow students with common interests to live together in a supportive environment and promote a unified campus by exploring the diversity within each community. SIC members serve as educational resources for a residential area, promote interaction with faculty and administrators in the Columbia community, and connect with community leaders beyond our gates.

Options

There are a number of SIC options for students to pick from, managed by Residential Life, or the Intercultural House (ICH), managed by Multicultural Affairs.

Eligibility

Rising Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors within Columbia College and SEAS are invited to apply to SICs each year in advance of the Room Selection process. In some years, a process is opened to invite new communities into the residence halls. 

Barnard College students who are guaranteed housing are eligible to live with CC and SEAS students in select SICs.  Due to the Columbia-Barnard Housing exchange and the history of selection and placement in the respective communities, there is a cap on the number of BC students who can reside in select SICs.  Following is the BC cap for select SICs:

  • Pan African House – 2
  • Casa Latina – 2
  • Community Health House – 2
  • Q-House – 2
  • IRC-ICH -4

Apply to the SIC Program

Visit the Special Interest Communities Program website for more information about SIC housing options and the application process. Students may also email the SIC Program with any further questions.

Visit the Intercultural House website for more information about the application process for the ICH. Students may also email Multicultural Affairs with any further questions..

Assignment Procedures

Residential Life and Multicultural Affairs provide SIC assignments to Columbia Housing prior to Room Selection. However, students who plan to reside in a Special Interest Community must still complete an academic year Housing application during the Room Selection registration period.

Students who fail to complete their Academic Year Housing application during the Room Selection registration period lose their guaranteed housing status and must follow the Non-Guaranteed Housing application process.

After SIC assignments are made, Housing notifies applicable students to log into the Housing Portal and complete their Housing application, including signing the Statement of Intent step and the Occupancy Agreement step.

About Fraternity & Sorority Communities

Fraternal organizations are a part of Columbia University’s long-standing history and are sponsored by Residential Life/Fraternity and Sorority Life. Learn more about the Fraternity and Sorority community at Columbia, guiding values, and how to become a member. Some organizations have residences coordinated through Columbia Housing. Organizations must remain in good standing in order to continue the privilege of occupancy.

Eligibility

Members of a given chapter who are Columbia College, SEAS and Barnard College students with guaranteed housing are eligible to live in Fraternity and Sorority Housing. Due to the Columbia-Barnard Housing exchange and the history of selection and placement in the respective houses, there is a cap on the number of BC students who can reside in each space. Following is the BC cap for each organization: 

  • DG - 4
  • KAT - 5
  • AXO - 2
  • SDT - 4
  • ADP - 6

Apply to the Fraternity and Sorority Program

Contact Residential Life for more information about the application process.

Assignment Procedures

  • Students in Fraternities and Sororities who plan to live in FSL Housing must register during the Room Selection registration period.
  • Room assignments are made by the respective House Managers and are provided to Columbia Housing.
  • After assignments are made, students in Fraternity and Sorority Housing must log in to the Housing Portal to complete their Academic Year Housing application and indicate the corresponding category declaration, including completing the Statement of Intent step and the Occupancy Agreement step.

Students who fail to complete their Academic Year Housing application during the Room Selection registration period lose their guaranteed housing status and must follow the Non-Guaranteed Housing application process.

Room Swap and Room Transfer request forms within Fraternity and Sorority Housing must be signed by the RHD or the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Please note that Fraternity and Sorority Housing is not available during summer session. 

In order to create safer and more inclusive living environments for transgender students, the following outlines the process by which students can request a housing accommodation that is mindful of needs related to gender identity and expression.

Requesting a Housing Accommodation

Open Housing is an arrangement whereby two students, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression, are permitted to share a room in Columbia’s residence halls. Columbia's Open Housing approach aims to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all students and to provide students, regardless of identity, more options for their living arrangements with their peers. Columbia Housing also continues to offer single-sex floors in select residence halls each year.

In addition to Open Housing, the Housing application includes a field called “Other Housing Needs” where any student can request housing needs they may have (e.g. single-use bathroom, single apartment). Transgender students requesting a housing accommodation should share what specific needs they have in this space.

All housing accommodations will be reviewed by Housing in partnership with Residential Life and campus partners and resources on a case-by-case basis in order to meet the needs of each student.

Questions?

For further information regarding housing accommodations or to request a housing accommodation outside of application cycles, contact Housing at housing@columbia.edu or 212-854-2779. 

If you are in need of support during this process, please contact LGBTQ @ Columbia in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at lgbtqa@columbia.edu or 212-854-1675.

Resources

Students seeking additional accommodations or support may contact the following campus partners and resources:

Open Housing

Open Housing is an arrangement whereby two students, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression, are permitted to share a room in Columbia’s residence halls. Columbia's Open Housing approach aims to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all students and to provide students, regardless of identity, more options for their living arrangements with their peers. Columbia Housing also continues to offer single-sex floors in select residence halls each year. Open Housing is not intended—and in fact is highly discouraged—for romantic couples.

It is a student’s choice to tell their parents or guardian about the decision to live in an Open Housing arrangement. As with all housing decisions, Columbia Housing and the Office of Residential Life encourage students to talk with their parent(s) or guardian about their housing choices. Columbia Housing does not notify parents about the residential choices of students.

Eligibility

Any Rising Sophomore, Junior, or Senior at CC or SEAS who is at least 18 years of age and is guaranteed housing may participate in Open Housing in any of the residence halls. The option is also available to Barnard students who are at least 18 years of age and guaranteed housing in the buildings that are part of the CU/BC exchange (East Campus, 47 Claremont, and Ruggles). Open Housing is not available to incoming students, including first-year, combined plan, and transfer students.

Note: Although incoming first-year, combined plan, and transfer students are not eligible for Open Housing, they are able to request a housing accommodation by entering housing needs they may have in the section labeled “Other Housing Needs” on their Housing application.

Roommate Selection

For Open Housing, any two eligible students may choose to be roommates regardless of sex, gender, or gender expression. in any of the residence halls.

Residential Life and Housing discourage students who are in a romantic relationship from living together in a residence hall. However, we do not question any student's reasoning for wanting to live in Open Housing.

Students looking to live together as part of Open Housing must fill the room(s) and/or all beds in the room/suite to capacity—i.e. there must be an eligible student applying for every bed in the room(s) and/or suite. If a group that plans to participate in Open Housing cannot fully fill a suite and/or cannot select into a suite that fits the entire group, that group must select a configuration of rooms that fully accommodates every group member.

Room Selection

Open Housing follows the same policies and process as standard Room Selection.

Bathroom Style

Students forming groups for Open Housing should make sure they consider the bathroom style that will work for all group members. Many suite-style residence halls have shared private bathrooms, whereas corridor-style buildings often have male- and female-designated bathrooms in addition to one private single-use bathroom on each floor. Bathroom styles for each residence hall can be found under Explore Residences.

For a listing of gender-neutral restrooms on campus, please view this interactive map.

Cancellations & Room Transfers

If a roommate/suitemate cancels their housing or moves out of the room for any reason, the remaining roommate(s) must identify a new roommate to fill the vacancy. Columbia Housing defines the time allocated to find a new roommate. This window of time will vary depending on the time of year and the status of the housing waitlist. Typically, a resident will be allowed a minimum of 24 hours, but not more than one week to identify another eligible roommate. If another roommate is not identified within that time frame, the room reverts to a same-sex assignment, to be filled by Housing.

The standard room transfer process applies to all residents, whether or not students are participating in Open Housing. Please visit the Transfer or Exchange of Assignment section of the Guide to Living for more information on this process.

Students in Open Housing can also engage directly with a member of the Residential Life staff about roommate difficulties and/or a desire to receive a room reassignment. Please visit the Residential Life staff contact page to locate the contact information for the staff member overseeing your residence hall.

Questions

If you have questions, please reach out to the Housing team at housing@columbia.edu or (212) 854-2946. Students can also contact Residential Life with questions or concerns regarding Open Housing at reslife@columbia.edu.