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Special Interest Community Recruitment

Thank you for your interest in the Special Interest Community Program and for considering the various special interest communities as your housing option!  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.  

We are currently accepting applications for interested students to apply for 2018-2019 academic year. It truly is a very unique opportunity at Columbia University, and we would love for you to be a part of that experience! 

At this time we are no longer accepting applications for student groups or organizations interested in starting a new Special Interest Community

Please continue to check this website for future updates, such as detailed information about upcoming recruitment events and deadlines for individual and new SIC applicants.

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 2018-2019 academic year may affect consideration of prospective residency, particularly if you intend on studying abroad in the Fall 2018 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 2018 prior to their Fall 2018 move-in day.  In addition all residents are also expected to move back onto campus on August 30, 2018 (anticipated) to participate in Special Interest Community Orientation programs.

House Membership Expectations

  • Move in early and attend SIC Orientation
  • Attend a bi-/weekly house meeting with full participation by each house member
  • Assist in fulfilling programming requirements; participation in program planning will vary by community though it is suggested that each house member if 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 in a timely manner and all administrative deadlines are met
  • Participate in SIC program assessment and evaluation processes, for example the annual SIC Member Experience Survey
  • Actively engage and coordinate with S/RA of floor and/or community
  • Participate in and support all SIC Recruitment events (see SIC Manual pg 15-16 for more details)
  • Have representation at all respective SIC House events/programs
  • Participate in creating a comfortable and welcoming community within the SIC community
  • Follow-through will all RHD expectations as well as House Leadership expectations
  • 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) and/or RHD(s)
  • Be a positive role model of the community. House members are a reflection of their respective SIC as well as the department of Residential Life. It is an expectation that members treat all staff, faculty, and peers with respect and always act professionally
  • Be welcoming to all members of the Columbia community, especially within the walls of the SIC community
  • Maintain housing eligibility throughout the academic year; this includes but is not limited to:
    • Abide by all Guide to Living policies
    • Members must be upper-class CC/SEAS/Barnard undergraduates with guaranteed housing
    • Remain in good academic standing with the university

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 here.

2. What types of bedspaces 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 bedspaces 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 here.

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 preferenced Special Interest Community, 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 Residence Hall Director of the Special Interest Communities, Stephanie Valentino 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 Latin@
Metta House
Pan-African House
Community Health House
Q House

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

No, once you choose to live within a particular Special Interest Community you can remain a resident of that community during your time at Columbia University; individual Special Interest Communities may or may not have specific membership limitations based on availability and/or number of years of membership. 


Important Dates and Deadlines

Application availability: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 

Priority application deadline: Thursday, December 14, 2017, at 11:59 p.m., after this date applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis.

House Interviews: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 through Sunday, February 4, 2018 **Interviews will be managed by and coordinated through each individual SIC House that the applicant has applied for.  Applicants should expect to receive communication from SIC House Recruitment Coordinators directly.

Notifications of acceptance/placement will be sent out: Friday, February 9, 2018 by 5:00 PM

Deadline for candidates to confirm house selection: February 12, 2018 by 11:59pm

The completed application must be submitted no later than Sunday, January 21, 2018, by 11:59p.m, after this date applications will continue to be accepted on a late/rolling basis.  Priority will be given to applicants that have submitted their application in a timely manner by the originally advertised application priority deadline of Thursday, December 14, 2017. Application information will be reviewed by the Residence Hall Director whom supervises and oversees the Special Interest Community program 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? 

Application availability: Monday, October 9, 2017

Application deadline: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 by 11:59pm

Interviews/Presentations: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 through Friday, November 10, 2017

Final Decision Notification: by Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It is a requirement that all student groups or organizations interested in applying to establish a new Special Interest Community request an Application Packet from RHD Stephanie Valentino at The Application Packet will be sent directly to the requestors' inbox with more detailed information on the application and selection process of new Special Interest Communities. 


Questions about the process, program requirements, and/or qualifications should be directed to RHD Stephanie Valentino at We look forward to hearing from you!

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