Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Special Interest Community Recruitment

Thank you for your interest in the Special Interest Community (SIC) program! Below you will find more details about living within the SIC program and the application process for students interested in living as members of a Special Interest Community. Apply to live in a Special Interest Community!

Questions about the process, program requirements and/or qualifications should be directed to Clifford Jacobs at

Applicant Qualifications

  • Applicants must be enrolled at Barnard College, Columbia College or The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.  

  • Applicants must be sophomores, juniors, or seniors during their year(s) of residence and in good academic standing and disciplinary status.  

  • Applicants are expected to participate for a full academic year.  Plans to study abroad during 2021-22 academic year may affect consideration of prospective residency, particularly if you intend on studying abroad in the Fall 2021 semester (this will be at the discretion of the perspective SIC House(s) and its House Coordinators).

  • All residents are expected to participate as active members of the SIC House that they elect to live in.

  • All residents are required to attend an Special Interest Community Welcome Session in April 2021, prior to their Fall 2021 move-in day. 

  • All residents are also expected to move back onto campus early in August 2021 to participate in Special Interest Community Orientation programs. More specifics will be shared with all accepted students in Spring 2021.

House Membership Expectations

  • Move in early and attend SIC orientation
  • Attend a monthly house meeting with full participation by each house member; please note that additional meetings may be required due to the nature/needs of a specific SIC as determined by house leadership
  • Assist in fulfilling programming requirements; participation in program planning will vary by community though it is suggested that each house member is required to serve on the planning committee of at least one house program
  • Exhibit strong involvement in the residential community and Columbia community at large
  • Assist with and/or provide support to house leadership to ensure that all administrative paperwork is turned in a timely manner and all administrative deadlines are met
  • Participate in SIC program assessment and evaluation processes
  • Actively engage and coordinate with the resident adviser (RA) of the floor and/or community
  • Participate in and support all SIC recruitment efforts
  • Have representation at all respective SIC House events/programs
  • Participate in creating a welcoming and vibrant community within the SIC
  • Follow-through with all expectations, as set by the assistant director and house leadership
  • Take initiative to address concerns that may come up in the suite and ask for help when needed from house leadership and/or Residential Life staff, specifically respective RA(s), hall directors, and/or the assistant director
  • Be a positive role model of the community; house members are a reflection of their respective SIC as well as Residential Life, so it is an expectation that members treat all staff, faculty and peers with respect
  • Be welcoming to all members of the Columbia community, especially within the walls of the SIC community
  • ​Abide by all Guide to Living policies
  • Members must be upper-class Columbia College/Columbia Engineering (and in certain cases, Barnard) undergraduates with guaranteed housing

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How much does it cost to live in a Special Interest Community?

Prior to applying to a Special Interest Community all applicants should take into account the cost associated with each housing option. For more specific information regarding SIC House building location and cost of such accommodations please view specific details on the Housing website.

2. What types of bed spaces and amenities are offered within the Special Interest Communities?

Prior to applying to a Special Interest Community all applicants should take a moment to view the bed spaces and amenities available to Special Interest Communities as they vary between the Special Interest Communities themselves. For more specific information regarding SIC House building location and cost of such accommodations please view specific details on the Housing website.

3. Will I get to select the house and/or room that I am living in?

All assignments are done by the houses internally. Assignments are typically done based on what is best for the relationships in the house taking into account seniority within the community. Applying to a Special Interest Community does not guarantee access to a single. You are applying for a communal experience and not for the accommodations.

4. What if I am interested in multiple Special Interest Communities?

On the Application Form, all applicants have the ability to select up to three(3) Special Interest Communities as their preference. All applicants are encouraged to attend the Recruitment events for each Special Interest Community indicated to be able to learn more about what it is like to like in that particular Special Interest Community. Should an applicant be accepted into multiple houses after undergoing the Recruitment process with each Special Interest Community they prefer, the applicant will be able to select or accept the Special Interest Community in which they want to live.

5. How can I learn more about the membership application and/or the Special Interest Communities themselves?

To learn more about the membership application and applying to the Special Interest Community program, please contact the Assistant Director of the Special Interest Communities, Clifford Jacobs at There will be a variety of advertised events and information sessions for interested applicants to attend to learn more about living within the Special Interest Community. Applicants are highly encouraged to attend such recruitment events so that they can see firsthand what it is like to live in each respective community.

6. What if I am accepted into a Special Interest Community but I change my mind about living there?

Applications into the Special Interest Community are binding; therefore once an applicant confirms acceptance into the Special Interest Community of their choice they are expected to move into their assigned room/space. If for some reason applicants want to cancel this room assignment, they will be considered “last” within the Housing Lottery process.

7. Are there any additional dues for being a member of a Special Interest Community?

No there are not additional dues or costs to live within the Special Interest Community. Individual Special Interest Communities may have different monetary expectations of their members for house events, community meals, trips/outing, or retreats; but such costs are up to the discretion of each house and its members.

8. What if I am not guaranteed housing?

Unfortunately at this time the Special Interest Communities are only able to accept students with guaranteed housing; however, should rooms/spaces be available later in the semester or the summer all residents, despite the guaranteed housing expectation, will be considered.

9. I am not a student within Columbia College or the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; can I still live within a Special Interest Community?

Unfortunately at this time the Special Interest Community is only able to accommodate students affiliated with Barnard College outside of Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. With that being said, due to limitations presented by the Barnard Exchange program, Barnard Students are only permitted to apply to and live in the following Special Interest Community houses:

Casa Latina
Pan-African House
Q House

10. Do I have to re-apply every year to join a Special Interest Community?

Each SIC member must fill out an intent to return survey administered by the Assistant Director of Special Interest Communities in the late fall. The intent to return survey is the "re-application" process for all current SIC members as the survey inquires on member involvement such as attendance at programs and meetings, violations of community standards, and other information that SIC leaders take into consideration on completing house rosters for the following year.  

Important Dates and Deadlines

Application availability: Thursday, October 1, 2020

Application deadline: Friday, January 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm.

House Interviews: **Interviews will be managed by and coordinated through each individual SIC House that the applicant has applied forApplicants should expect to receive communication from SIC House Recruitment Coordinators directly.

Notifications of acceptance/placement will be sent out: Friday, February 5, 2021

Deadline for candidates to confirm house selection: Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by 5:00 pm

The completed application must be submitted no later than Monday, February 1, 2021, by 11:59 pm, after this date applications will continue to be accepted on a late and rolling basis should spaces still be available. Priority will be given to applicants that have submitted their application in a timely manner by the originally advertised application deadline. Application information will be reviewed by the Assistant Director of the Special Interest Communities, as well as be distributed to the Recruitment Coordinators of the respective SIC Houses that the applicant has applied to. Applications that are incomplete in any way will not be reviewed.  All candidates should expect to receive communication directly from the SIC Recruitment Coordinator(s) for an individual interview if they should be considered by the SIC House that they selected as their preference.

Interested in establishing a new Special Interest Community? 

We are working on finalizing what new Special Interest Communities may look like for next year. Please bear with us while we continuing our planning process and check back with us later in the Fall 2020 semester. 

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