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Frequently Asked Housing Questions

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. Check out answers to some of students’ most common questions below.

First-year Students

Housing Selection

Do early decision students receive housing priority?
Colgate places all first-year students at the same time. We take great care in housing students because we know how important it is for a student’s first year experience. Accordingly, we ask all new students to complete a housing preference form so we can get to know what’s important to you in an ideal living situation. We will then use these responses to match roommates and to place students on residence hall floors and within Residential Commons. The housing preference form does not ask for building or room style preference and instead asks questions that will help us place you within a community that will meet your needs.
Can I choose my residence hall?
Housing assignments for first-year students are made by the Residential Life staff taking into consideration your housing preference form responses. As an incoming first-year student, you will receive our housing preference form early in the summer. This form will ask questions that allow us to match you with roommates along critical similarities. Your responses and that of your peers will also allow us to assemble residence hall floors and residential commons communities. To best maintain the integrity of this process, students are not able to indicate a specific residence hall or roommate preference.

Depending on availability, students in later class years may choose their residence hall. With special interest communities, block housing, our lottery system, and the private off-campus housing lottery for seniors only, students have many options for housing. The lottery system determines the order in which students make their selections and numbers are assigned to students in random fashion each class year. We promise many opportunities later in your Colgate career to learn all about these processes.
Can I select my own roommate as an incoming student?
Professional staff in the Office of Residential Life will assign students to rooms and roommates using the information you share with us in the housing preference form (available to all new students on your Housing Portal early this summer). Because Colgate endeavors to create residential communities that provide students with opportunities to learn about a person's story, background, and part of the world that they may have never before experienced, we do not permit roommate requests. We feel confident that there will be many ways for you to build meaningful connections with your roommate, floor-mates, and Residential Commons throughout your first year at Colgate. Our hope is that the residential experience is an integral part of your Colgate experience and will help you grow and learn alongside your curricular pursuits. A community of students, faculty, and staff will support, challenge, and advise you along the way in your first year.
When will I know where I will be living?
We know that learning who your roommate is and where you will be living during your first year at Colgate is important to you. We are as excited as you about welcoming you to your new home and helping you get settled in to your new community. For that reason, we endeavor to deliver this exciting news to you as soon as possible. Housing assignments, including the building/room where you will be living and your roommates’ names, will be made available to you on your Colgate Housing Portal in early August.


What should I bring to Colgate?
Remember, you may not have room for everything you want to bring, but listed below are a few things you might want to have on hand. You should discuss with your roommate(s) what items each of you might bring.
  • Heavy jacket, water repellent boots, raincoat, umbrella, gloves, scarf, layers
  • Media player, television, personal computer, printer
  • Small, two-cubic foot refrigerator (rentals available - one per room)
  • Extra long bedding (80" twin sheets), pillow, mattress cover, blankets or duvet
  • Alarm clock, shower caddie, towels
  • Cellular phone
  • Small study lamp (no halogen lamps)
  • Backpack
  • Memo/note board for outside of your door
  • Surge-protectors or power strips (UL listed with a circuit breaker for over-current protection)
  • Clothes hangers, iron, ironing board
  • Laundry basket or bag, detergent, fabric softener
  • Posters and poster putty (the use of nails, thumb tacks, and/or tape is not permitted and will cause a student to be assessed damage fees at the end of the semester or year)
  • Suit, ties, formal dress, dress shoes
  • Bathing suit (indoor pool available)
  • Bathrobe, slippers, shower sandals
  • Athletic equipment
  • Can opener, cups, coffee mugs, travel mug, silverware
What should I leave behind?
For a variety of reasons, we ask that you leave the following items at home. If found, you will be asked to remove these items from your room:
  • Candles, halogen lamps, fireworks, neon signs, incense (also will incur a fine from Campus Safety for a fire safety violation)
  • Appliances that require excessive currents (air conditioners, large refrigerators) or appliances that have open coils or do not have an automatic shut-off device
  • Appliances with an open heat source (toasters, hot plates, sandwich makers)
  • Charcoal or propane grills
  • Space heaters
  • Pets
  • Cinder blocks
  • Guns, knives, other weapons
How does first-year Arrival Day work?
On Arrival Day, all vehicles will be directed to park on Whitnall Field. Information can be gathered at the Hall of Presidents in James C. Colgate Hall. Your belongings will be loaded into moving trucks by student volunteers and transported to the first-year halls. You will check in in a central location on campus, obtain your room key, then make your way to your room to get settled in. 

Returning Students

I am a returning student. When can I move in?
Please refer to the academic calendar for the official arrival and move-in days for both new and incoming students. Keys will be distributed from the Office of Residential Life located in Drake Hall (campus map). Please be sure to bring a photo ID for identification purposes. Please notify our office if you have an issue with arriving during our posted hours at 315-228-7367.
What if I need to move in before my arrival date?
If you were granted permission to return to campus prior to your official arrival date, please follow the instructions provided to you by your sponsor and/or Residential Life. Arrivals that occur during the week (Monday - Friday) should make every effort to check-in between 8:30a.m. - 4:30 p.m.. Arrivals on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) are limited from noon - 5:00 p.m. Please notify our office if you have an issue with arriving during our posted hours at 315-228-7367.
What if I have a disability-related need relevant to my housing?
If you have a specific disability-related housing need, please visit the accessible accommodations page for detailed instructions.
Is off-campus housing available?
We are a residential campus, meaning that each student is required to live in campus housing. However, there is a lottery process in the fall of a student's junior year in which students can apply for a limited number of spaces off campus. The students approved to live off-campus through the lottery take part in the Neighbor to Neighbor program, a collaborative effort between the Village of Hamilton and the Colgate community, and are granted permission to move off campus their senior year. Since you must be approved to live off-campus, we strongly advise that you do not sign a lease until you are certain of your status.


Do I have to clean my own bathroom?
Students who live in suite-style rooms with bathrooms (Bryan Complex, Shepardson, Whitnall, Read, and Brigham), apartments, and the townhouses are all responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms. Bathrooms in all other Colgate residences are cleaned by Facilities staff.
What kind of furniture will I have in my room?
Each residence hall room has one bed, desk, chair, dresser, closet or wardrobe, and data port for each student living there. The type of furniture varies between residence halls. Some rooms have beds that may be adjusted, others do not. Some beds are bunked, some are not. All university furniture needs to remain in the rooms, and may not be switched with another room. Each residence hall room has a set of windows with window treatments, and each residence hall room has an individual door key and a door lock.
What facilities and resources do the residence halls offer?
Each residence hall has a recreational area with a TV and DVD player, couches, and study tables. Some residence halls also offer game equipment such as ping pong and pool tables, where space permits. Laundry facilities and study lounges can also be found in each hall. Many halls offer small kitchenettes that include a sink, microwave, and small refrigerator, while others offer larger residential kitchen designed for hosting student events or cooked the occasional meal. 

The Harlem Renaissance Center (HRC) in Crawshaw Hall, part of the Bryan Complex, has a library dedicated to African and African-American studies. East Hall is home to the Center for Women's Studies.
Are there laundry facilities in each residence hall? How much do they cost?
Yes. It costs $1.50 per load to wash and $1.50 per load to dry. The machines only accept payment via 'Gate Card, which is a swipe-card system through your student ID. You can manage your 'Gate Card account online.
How many people share the bathrooms?
The number of students sharing a bathroom depends on the living area, ranging from 20 to 40 students on a floor. In some suite-style living options and in townhouses and apartments, a smaller number share a common bathroom. 

Maintenance and Service Needs

What if I lose my key?
According to university policy, the loss of a room key requires the replacement of the lock mechanism as well as the cutting of new keys. Students who lose their keys will be charged $75 for these services. If you should lose your key, please visit the Office of Residential Life in Drake Hall (campus map) to report your key lost. Upon checking out from a university residence, the key(s) must be returned to a Residential Life staff member or placed in an express check-out key box in one of the various locations around campus. Failure to return keys will result in lock replacement charges.
What do I do if something is broken?
The Facilities Department is responsible for power or plumbing failures as well as any general repairs. Any damage or malfunction in a student room or common area should be reported immediately through Colgate's online work order system. Any Facilities emergency should be phoned in to the Facilities Department at 315-228-7130.
Can I have university furniture removed from my room?
No. You are required to keep the furniture that is provided in your room. You are also responsible for the condition and location of the furniture that you were provided.
What do I do if my ethernet/wireless does not work?
If your wired ethernet connection is not working, or if you are experiencing wireless connection problems, you should contact your Residential Computing Consultant (RCC) or call the Helpline at 315-228-7111, and select option 3.
What do I do if my cable does not work?
Time Warner is the cable provider for all of the residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, college houses, and apartments. All problems with cable service should be directed to Time Warner at 1-866-339-8225. 

General Questions

Are there any Residential Life policies of which I should be aware?
Yes, here are a few:
  • We must abide by New York State Law, so the use of alcohol by those under the age of 21 is strictly prohibited.
  • Drugs and other illegal substances are not permitted.
  • We want students to live in an environment that is conducive to sleep and study, so we ask that students abide by quiet hours, which begin at a specific time each night.
  • 24-hour courtesy hours are always in effect.
  • We ask that all students treat each other with respect and civility, and that they live by a mutually acceptable set of community standards.
Further, a student's residential experience is an important complement to his or her academic experience at Colgate. The Office of Residential Life encourages students to actively and positively address both individual and community issues. A full  copy of the Student Code of Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook.
Do I need property insurance for my personal belongings?
We encourage students to talk to their parents/guardians about property insurance. For those without such insurance, information regarding property insurance will be sent in a separate mailing over the summer. Please note that the university is not responsible for loss of property.
What is a community leader?
Community leaders are trained students employed by residential life as community organizers. They provide leadership and coaching in the residence halls. They are knowledgeable resources who are also trained in conflict resolution and crisis management. Community leaders also uphold community standards and policies and are on call nightly for emergencies.
What does it mean to be "smoke-free"?
In accordance with the New York State Clean Air Act, it is illegal to smoke in any and all indoor spaces on campus (residential and non-residential). This means residents are not allowed to smoke in their individual rooms, common areas, bathrooms, or any other area.
What is a suite?
A suite may consist of 3-6 students whose rooms are connected by a common living area or bathroom. Each bedroom has its own door for privacy. Bedrooms within suites hold one to four students.
Are residents permitted to stay on campus during breaks?
Colgate residences close for the semester breaks (beginning in December and May). Students who are required to stay throughout a break or to return earlier/stay later than closing dates published on the academic calendar should contact the Office of Residential Life.
What safety measures are in place?
Although Hamilton is a safe community, we strongly encourage students to be aware of their personal safety and security and to use common sense. For your safety, the front doors of each residence hall are always locked, and campus safety patrols campus regularly, 24 hours a day. To avoid theft, students should lock their individual room or suite doors at all times, even when going to the bathroom down the hall.

Residential Life also has a regular on-call rotation for housing crises that arise after hours. Students can contact the Residential Life staff member on call by contacting Campus Safety.