Special Living Options
About Special Interest Housing
The Special Interest Communities (SIC) program offers residential experiences to those interested in living among students with common identities or shared interests.
Students can select from several options, including:
- Special Interest Communities, managed by Residential Life
- The Intercultural House (ICH), managed by Multicultural Affairs
- The Intercultural Resource Center (IRC), managed by Multicultural Affairs
Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors within Columbia College and SEAS are invited to apply to special interest housing each year in advance of the Room Selection process.
A select number of Barnard College students with guaranteed housing status are eligible to live in some 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:
- Black Residential Brownstone – 2
- Casa Latina – 2
- Q-House – 2
- IRC-ICH – 4
Apply to the SIC Program
Room Selection & Assignment Procedures
Students who plan to reside in a Special Interest Community must register for Room Selection, including signing the Statement of Intent and Occupancy Agreement by the registration deadline. Students who fail to register for Room Selection will lose their guaranteed housing status and must follow the Non-Guaranteed Housing application process.
Residential Life and Multicultural Affairs provide SIC assignments to Columbia Housing prior to Room Selection.
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.
Note: Starting AY 23-24, ADP will be outside of the Columbia Housing portfolio. If you choose to live in ADP, your status will be changed to non-guaranteed and you will not be eligible to participate in future Room Selections.
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
Apply to the Fraternity and Sorority Program
Contact Residential Life for more information about the application process.
Room Selection & Assignment Procedures
Students who plan to live in FSL Housing must register during the Room Selection, including signing the Statement of Intent and Occupancy Agreement by the registration deadline. Students who fail to register for Room Selection will lose their guaranteed housing status and must follow the Non-Guaranteed Housing application process.
Room assignments are determined by a chapter representative and submitted to Columbia Housing.
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 the summer session.
Students who express a need for housing accommodations due to gender expression or identity — for example, students who may feel more comfortable living with a particular gender or those who may desire additional privacy while transitioning—should review our guidelines for Open Housing in the next section.
Students with questions about housing accommodations related to gender expression or identity should contact Residential Life.
All housing accommodations will be reviewed by Housing in partnership with Residential Life and campus partners and resources on a case-by-case basis.
Students seeking additional accommodations or support may contact the following campus partners and resources:
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. Open Housing is not intended—and 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.
Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior at CC or SEAS who is at least 18 years of age and has guaranteed housing status 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. 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.
For Open Housing, any two eligible students may choose to be roommates regardless of sex, gender, or gender expression.
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.
Open Housing follows the same policies and process as standard Room Selection.
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 as soon as possible. If another roommate is not identified, Housing will assign a same-sex roommate.
If you have questions, please reach out to the Housing team at [email protected] or (212) 854-2946. Students can also contact Residential Life with questions or concerns regarding Open Housing at [email protected].