A student in a residence hall room.

It’s no secret NYU is known as the campus without walls because of our nontraditional layout. There is this myth that, because our campus has no physical boundaries, it’s difficult for our students to find community. However, many of our visitors are surprised to find that NYU actually has a rich, vibrant community where students thrive. One of the places on campus where students find that community is inside their NYU residence hall.

Often when people think of residence halls, they picture a drab, bleak 20 x 20 box. But there’s nothing drab or bleak about the NYU residence hall community. The NYU residential experience is a great complement to the academic experience and helps students make the most of their college experience. Read on for five ways we work to create a home away from home for our 12,000 students living on campus.

1. Support From Live-In Staff

There aren’t many things I can think of that are more frightening than moving to a big city. But fortunately, here at NYU, residence halls have live-in staff that support students 24 hours a day known as resident assistants. Resident assistants are upperclass peer leaders who are responsible for building community on their floor. They plan activities and events to assist students with their transition to college and life in the city. In addition, they are trained to help residents with potential roommate conflicts and other challenges that could pop up during the first year.

2. Programming and Events

One of the best ways for students to meet their neighbors is by attending the programs and outings sponsored by the residence hall staff. And there are offerings to suit everyone’s taste. For example, programs range from potluck dinners to Harry Potter movie marathons to outings to see Broadway shows and museums. Did I mention these events are typically free?

Students meeting in an NYU lounge.
Students playing pool in residence hall lounge
3. The First Year Residential Experience (FYRE)

The goal of FYRE is to help first-year students make a healthy and meaningful transition to the University. The program provides students with experiences to help them connect to new friends, NYU, and New York City. All first-year residents are a part of FYRE and can choose to live in our Residential College at Goddard Hall. Students who partake in the program can take classes in the residence hall and attend educational outings. For those who are looking for a less formal opportunity, we offer Explorations floors, where they can live with like-minded students on themed floors.

Exterior of Weinstein residence Hall.
Weinstein Residence Hall, one of ten first year halls at NYU
4. Faculty Fellows-in-Residence

Learning in the place you live is a hallmark of the residential experience at NYU. One initiative that allows students to learn outside the classroom is the Faculty Fellow-in-Residence program. Through this program, members of NYU faculty live in the residence halls and host cultural and intellectual events like dinners, dialogues, visits to museums, and so much more. Above all, these informal get-togethers allow for deeper connections between students and faculty. 

5. Leadership Opportunities

The residential community is chock full of opportunities for leadership and community engagement, even in the first year. Each of our residence halls has their own hall council that focuses on community and advocacy in the building. In addition, the Inter-Residence Hall Council, the umbrella organization for all hall councils, works to enhance the residential experience and foster community across all of our residence halls.

In conclusion, living on campus at NYU aids students in making a successful transition to the University. Above all, our residence halls provide a home away from home for students where genuine, lifelong connections can be made. In addition, our dedicated staff works hard to foster community and help students find their place. After a long day bouncing around the city from classes to internships, NYU students look forward to returning to a place they can call home. And in a big city like New York that’s full of strangers, resident students find comfort in coming home to a place where everyone knows their name.

Camille Wilson is the Associate Director of Strategic Student Communications in the Division of Enrollment Management at NYU. She’s spent the last decade in Higher Education working to nurture and inspire student leaders by supporting their holistic growth and development. When she’s not mentoring college students, she’s helping her readers toast to life’s memorable moments on her blog.