The Colgate Scene
September 2003

Basics of the residential education plan

In a July mailing to the entire Colgate community, the Board of Trustees announced a new four-year residential life program to be implemented beginning this fall.

  • The new program takes into account the findings of a task force of trustees, faculty, students and administrative staff who spent 30 months studying campus culture. Not all task force recommendations are included in the program. Recommendations that Greek-letter organizations be non-exclusive and coeducational were rejected, for example.
  • The program is an integrated approach to residential life that addresses the needs of students throughout four undergraduate years.
    • The First-Year Life Skills Program provides increased support to incoming students who self-identify as wanting and/or needing help making the transition to college life. The program also offers optional workshops on career exploration and life skills with a heavy emphasis on communication.
    • The Sophomore Experience in the Arts of Democracy provides new programs that give students opportunities to explore major public issues and a chance to create a unique sophomore experience.
    • In the Broad Street Community, juniors and seniors will live with select groups of friends in university-owned houses, governing the residences within university guidelines.
  • The only required component is the orientation for first-year students. Sophomores may choose not to participate. Juniors and seniors can opt out of the Broad Street program by selecting to live in university-owned apartments.
  • This fall, the Office of Residential Education will convene teams of students, faculty and staff to develop the programmatic details of the Broad Street neighborhoods, including house governance, educational programming and recruitment of residents. The Broad Street Community houses will comprise groups of students who:
    • affiliate around a theme normally connected to an academic department or other university program; or
    • affiliate with a chapter of a Greek-letter organization; or
    • form small, self-selected groups of four to eight students.
  • The trustees concluded the preservation of the Greek-letter system was consistent with the vision for the Broad Street Community, but recognized that "significant problems arose when the properties were independently owned and not overseen by the university."
  • Colgate will seek to acquire all Greek-letter houses during the next two years and will make substantial investments in the properties so that they will remain attractive and safe residential options.
  • Through outright ownership, Colgate will be able to work directly with fraternity and sorority members as they govern their organizations and manage the properties. Greek-letter organizations in good standing can continue to occupy the houses.
  • Beginning in fall 2005, all students will be required to live in university housing, with the exception of up to 250 seniors who may be granted permission to live off campus, as has been the case for many years.
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