For many rising sophomores, the spring semester’s general housing selection process is generally a chaotic and stressful experience, as those looking to live in on-campus housing hope for an early time slot to self-select a room in one of the popular main houses on West Campus.
On March 7 at 5 p.m., students began the process of general room selection during their assigned 20-minute time slot.
Due to the University’s updated residential policy, first and second year Cornell students are required to live in on-campus or affiliated housing. The new requirement precedes the completion of the North Campus Expansion project, whose new additions to North Campus housing include newly opened residential halls like Ganędagǫ: and Morrison. The new dorms on North Campus will provide 800 new beds for second-year students.
Despite these new additions to the North Campus residential scene, West Campus remains in high demand. According to Cornell Housing, sophomores historically make up around 65 percent of residents on West Campus, creating an ideal environment for a sophomore community.
Many rising second-year students, like Katelyn Canova ’25, hoped to live on West Campus because of the location, dining halls and social experience it offers.
“I would like to live on West Campus next school year, as it is near my classes and Collegetown. It also has better dining halls,” wrote Canova in an email to The Sun. “Most importantly, I will be close to all my friends on a sophomore-centered campus.”
However, according to Jeff Dahlander, assistant director of contracts and operations, this year, only 30 percent of rising sophomores will have the opportunity to live on West Campus.
“A lot of students think about West Campus as the ideal second year area to live,” Dahlander said in a February webinar hosted by Cornell Housing. “But, the reality is that West Campus simply does not have enough space to house all students.”
Having had the expectations of living on West Campus, current first-year students are expressing frustration and disappointment with the prospect of living on North Campus.
Canova feels that it is unfair that students currently living in Clara Dickson Hall, which is historically a first-year residential dorm on North Campus, can potentially live in the same building next year.
“As a proud Dickson resident, I have accepted all of the downsides of living in Clara Dickson Hall, with the expectation of being able to leave this dorm my sophomore year,” Canova wrote. “I fear that, with my block’s timeslot, I might be stuck with the same showers with terrible water pressure, dryers that don’t dry and [a] broken elevator, all of which I was hopeful to leave behind.”
Cameron Goddard ’25 is a freshman student living in George Jameson Hall, an older student residential hall built in 1974 on North Campus.
“Ideally, I would like to live in one of the main West houses, but given my timeslot, I definitely will not be able to be in one of those,” wrote Goddard in an email to The Sun.
Starting this year, the rising sophomores will not be able to opt-out of on-campus housing, unless they meet the requirements for exemption. Hannah Kim ’23 lived off campus her sophomore year and said the University’s changed housing policies are restricting.
“Mandating two years of dorm living is pretty restricting, especially because some of the current freshmen may end up living on North again against their will,” Kim wrote. “Living in Collegetown my sophomore year was a great experience for me because of the independence. Living with friends off campus was fun, especially because we cooked together and met up a lot more easily and often than when living on North.”
Yemisi Mustapha ’25 was selected to be a residential advisor, exempting her from the general room selection process. She currently lives in High Rise 5 and anticipates that she will live on North Campus again as a residential advisor.
“I didn’t have much preference over where to live,” Mustapha wrote in an email to The Sun. “I just didn’t want to live in Dickson or the High Rises again.”
Although Mustapha will not be blocking with her friends, as she had wanted prior to becoming a residential advisor, she anticipates that her new residence will not be too different from her first-year housing experience.
“As a future second-year living on North Campus with first-years, I don’t think it’ll be anything different. We’re both still underclassmen dealing with the stresses of Cornell,” Mustapha wrote.
Although the new housing policy changes create new inconveniences, students like Goddard are understanding of the University’s decision.
“I do recognize that it’s easier for the University to expand and build new dorms on North campus rather than West,” Goddard wrote. “I think the overall theme for the GRS process is that it’s not very good but it’s probably as good as it could be given the constraints.”