Campus Life

A Living and Learning Community

Visitors are often surprised that when they enter our historic gates and the sounds of the city melt away. Barnard’s compact campus provides a serene respite, an oasis from the sometimes-frenetic energy of a city that never sleeps. And, we make the most of our four-and-a-half acres.

An amalgam of various styles comprise Barnard's architectural influences, the result is a blending of classic and modern. Our newest addition, the Diana Center, a 70,000-square-foot student center completed in 2010, adds a new element. Its seven story glass structure stretches across campus, linking the historic gates of our entrance at the south end of campus to one of our original campus buildings, Milbank Hall, at the north. And, in inclement weather, a series of underground hallways conveniently connect the campus, so students can go from the residence halls to class while never going outside!

The physical space of Barnard's campus connects our community and encourages a sense of belonging. With the College's four acres as their anchor, Barnard women venture forth to make use of the Columbia campus, and to explore Morningside Heights and all of New York City.

Sense of Community

Students regularly ask about whether a sense of community is found on a campus like ours. In fact, it's a question many urban campuses are asked. With the draw of New York City, do students also have an active college community and a real campus life? With great confidence, and a lot of pride, we smile and reply in the affirmative.  Here's why:

From the Very Beginning

Introduction to campus life begins during orientation. Students from the four colleges under the Columbia umbrella are introduced to life at their College, at the University, and in Morningside Heights. All Barnard residential first-years settle into their new home in the Quad where they begin to develop a sense of just what kind of community they've joined. Throughout the year, our First-Year Focus program, Barnard's extended orientation, provides academic and co-curricular activities to help first years adjust and get acquainted. Students and staff collaborate to design activities for floors, halls, and the full quad on a regular basis, and, at times, incorporate city adventures into the mix.  New Student Orientation Program.

Residential Life and Housing

More than 90% of students live on campus in one of Barnard’s twelve residence halls. Students are encouraged to live on campus both for the convenience and for the rich community experience and close ties students develop. Options available include traditional residence halls, suites, and apartments. More information, including descriptions and floor plans for each residence hall, is available on the Residential Life & Housing website.  While a small number of Barnard women live in Columbia residence halls and vice versa, there are a range of options available to accommodate residential needs all within a few minutes walk from classes on either side of Broadway.

First-Year Students

First-year students are housed in double-, triple-, or quad-occupancy rooms in "the Quad" (Brooks, Reid, or Sulzberger Hall) and are required to be on the unlimited meal plan (which has kosher and vegan options) in the Hewitt Dining Hall. First-year students may not live in a single, but do have access to singles from the sophomore to senior years. Housing requests are made during the summer prior to matriculation (an online application is available to enrolling students). First year students may also request a roommate at that time.

Transfer Students

While we do our best to assign housing for transfer students who wish to live on campus, we cannot guarantee placement. Transfer students may apply to live in single-, double, or triple-occupancy rooms in any of the upper class residence halls, but most Fall transfer students are housed on two floors reserved for transfer students in Elliott Hall.

Students with Disabilities

Any student with a diagnosed disability requiring a disability-related housing accommodation should contact the Office of Disability Services to complete a Disability-Related Housing Request.

A Residential Support Network

Residential Life and Housing is made up of a diverse team trained to respond to a variety of student issues. On the "frontline" are the Resident Assistants (RAs), undergraduate students living in the residence halls who respond to the various personal and academic issues that arise. RAs also offer cultural and social programs to educate residents and foster community within the hall. In addition to RAs, Constellation Leaders (CLs) organize programming for each floor withoin the quad. Finally, four Associate Directors for Residence Life (ADs) and nine Graduate Hall Directors (GHDs) manage the residence halls. Along with other professional staff, the team introduces students to campus resources to facilitate transitions through the college years.

First-Year Focus

The First-Year Focus (FYF) Program at Barnard is an extension of Orientation that continues throughout the year. It combines academic and co-curricular activities to assist first-year students in adjusting to college life, Barnard, and New York City. Entertaining and informative activities and workshops, ranging from informal weekly programs to larger formal events, are organized in the residence halls. Past programs have included room decorating contests, floor brunches, movie nights, workshops on stress management and reduction and healthy eating and numerous other activities. FYF is dedicated to the integrity and personal growth of each individual and is co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Studies and Residential Life and Housing.

Senior Experience

The Senior Experience Program assists seniors in celebrating the close of their undergraduate experience. Interdepartmental programming that provides these students with the opportunity to reflect on their college experience, along with support in post-college transitioning. The Office of Residential Life collaborates with Alumnae Affairs, The Barnard Senior Fund, Dean of Studies, Office of Career Development, Senior Class Council, and the Office of College Activities to prepare senior class members for the next chapter in their lives.

Commuting to Barnard

A small percentage of Barnard students will commute from their family home or from an off campus apartment. Commuter students may request a locker in which to store books or other items. There is also a commuter lounge, located in the Diana Center where students can socialize or study. Skip Stop, a student organization for commuters, also provides services and activities throughout the school year.

Safety and Security

The well-being of our students, faculty, staff and guests is of paramount importance at Barnard. Because our four-acre campus is very much part of the larger communities of Columbia University in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, we have many mutual interests, including that of safety and crime prevention. The Office of Public Safety at Barnard focuses proactively on the prevention of crimes and on the practical collaboration with other safety offices, the New York Police Department, and residents. We are proud to live in a neighborhood rated one of the safest by the NYPD.

Security guards assigned to various areas on campus regularly patrol both academic and residential buildings. The College has yellow emergency call boxes equipped with alarm buttons that immediately notify Barnard Security. These are located throughout the campus. When the College is in session, the residence halls are staffed 24 hours a day by desk attendants, who monitor residents and guests, and students must present valid Barnard College/Columbia University I.D.'s to gain entrance. The College focuses a proactive lens on teaching newer students how to conduct them selves in a campus environment and in a city, especially during Orientation and through the First-Year Focus program.

Detailed information about programs and statistics may be obtained from the Office of Campus Safety.