Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

Students walking by Toni Morrison Hall, one of two new dorms this year on North Campus, on August 31, 2021.

August 31, 2022

Sophomores Weigh in On University Housing, Students Find New Policy Restrictive

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In April 2021, Cornell announced a change in University’s housing policy from requiring students to live on campus for one year to a two-year on campus living requirement. With some exceptions, sophomores found a new series of North Campus developments to call home.

According to Cornell Student and Campus Life, the policy change is heavily attributed to the University’s ability to provide residential space for more students upon completion of the North Campus Residential Expansion project.

“Upon completion, the NCRE will give Cornell the ability to house 100 percent of its first-year students in developmentally appropriate campus housing and 100 percent of its sophomore students in campus residence halls, co-ops and affiliated housing,” according to the NCRE website.  

The expansion includes the recently constructed and opened Hu Shih Hall, Ruth Bader Ginsberg Hall and Barbara McClintock Hall. Ganędagǫ Hall and Toni Morrison Hall, which have been occupied since Fall 2021, were also part of this project.

As recently as Spring 2022, Sophomores were given the option to live off-campus, including living in Collegetown. While some students are eager to enjoy the amenities of on-campus living, others are discontent and feel deprived of the opportunity to live off campus with their junior and senior peers. 

“I wish they let us live off-campus,” said Erin Xu ’25, who lives in Ganędagǫ Hall and said that she thinks the desire to live off-campus is more significant for other students in older dorms. 

“I feel like for other people [who live] in dorms not as good as Ganędagǫ, it might be better if they could choose their apartments with air conditioning,” Xu said.

The required meal plan that comes with on-campus living is another concern of students. Xu, who is enrolled in the Bear Traditional meal plan, is annoyed by the fact that the plan is required.

The Unlimited meal plan, priced at $3,306 per semester and $6,612 a year, allows access to all 10 residential dining rooms along with $400 in Big Red Bucks and 8 guest swipes. The Bear Traditional comes in at $3,086 per semester and $6,136 a year with a reduction in benefits which include 14 meal swipes per week and 4 guest swipes. 

Other students feel that dorms should offer more opportunities for people who prefer to cook for themselves. When describing the kitchens of Ganedago Hall, Jed Pan ’25 described the facilities as subpar. “These kitchens are ok. They’re just ok,” Pan said.

Pan also objected to the fact that meal plans are required for sophomores in campus housing.

“If someone doesn’t want to get a meal plan it should be their decision,” Pan said.

The new housing developments have also caused facilities on north campus to become more crowded. Sophomore Anthony Pena ’25 said that using North Campus facilities like dining halls has been complicated by the increase in students living nearby.

“The lines are much, much longer than they used to be and sometimes,” Pena said. “You don’t even want to go to the dining hall and just go to a convenient place like Nasties.” 

Observable are the long lines trailing outside of Robert Purcell Community Center and the fitness centers on North Campus including Toni Morrison and Helen Newman. 

“I’m pretty accustomed now to North Campus and how the dynamic is with all the freshmen who have just come in,” said Pena. “They’re relatively very charismatic and always open to listening to sophomores.”