Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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3 College Junior

Campus Quality: Facilities are fine. We would like more places to work together besides houses and libraries.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Campus Quality: The school does not offer a lot of extras but I am there for an education so it does not matter to me.

4 College Junior

Campus Quality: There is more one on one interaction with all of the teachers.

4 College Junior

Campus Quality: Caltech's student life is great! As a community of undergraduate students we know how to work hard and play hard. Of course, this involves pulling pranks and doing crazy things with each other and upholding traditions that have been going on for decades. However, recently administration has been cracking down on the students' activities so that's why I wouldn't give this an A+. If we were allowed to really express ourselves then I'd give it an A+. Because who doesn't want to live in houses like in Harry Potter?

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Campus Quality: The campus is clean, green and filled with amazing professionals to help you achieve.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Caltech's facilities have been augmented within the last several years. The two gyms have plenty of space and a complete set of weight lifting machines. There are three large swimming pools and a track. The Student Activities Center (SAC) in the basement of the South Houses has pianos and practice rooms for the musicians. There are numerous small libraries that are specific to various fields of science in many of the buildings. The main libraries, Millikan Library and Sherman Fairchild Library (SFL), are sufficient and hold massive amounts of scientific material. The school also has three coffee shops, one of which is student-run. Although there is no movie theater, each house has some form of entertainment system with a TV, DVD player, and more. There is also a general screening room in the SAC that may be used by students of all houses. The Caltech administration boasts about taking care of their student body, and many of the above student quotes certainly reflect appreciation.

Though Caltechers do not have much time to do anything but work, sleep, eat, and drink coffee, there are a lot of leisure activities at their disposal. The gym is great for stress release. The school offers a variety of PE classes, aerobics classes, and a few dance classes. If the gym is too much effort, there are always movies and TV shows; this sometimes involves walking to a movie theater nearby, so either way, students will get some form of exercise. For those who just want to relax on a shady lawn, the school has large stretches of grass all over campus. Some houses have hot tubs or trampolines which are always fun and way cool. When it's time to unwind, Caltechers don't have to look hard for something to do.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
124 acres
Student Centers
Winnett Student Center
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Department libraries
  • Millikan Library
  • Sherman Fairchild Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • House lounges
  • Libraries
  • Living room areas
  • The student-run coffeehouse in the Student Activities
Bar on Campus
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
  • Red Door Café
  • The Café at Broad
  • The student-run coffeehouse
Movie Theater on Campus
None, but there is a screening room in the SAC where students have access to a big-screen TV and a DVD player.
"Green" Initiatives
Some sustainability strategies that are in progress include upgrading steam main feed line, integrating renewable energy sources where feasible, and finding alternative low carbon energy sources.
School Slang
  • ACM 95: Applied and Computational Mathematics 95, a class that most students here have to take which is extremely difficult.
  • ASCIT: The student government association which most students are members of. The ASCIT officers are sort of the student body government of the campus.
  • The Coffeehouse: The student-run coffeehouse in the SAC
  • The C-Store: The Caltech convenience store next to Chandler Dining Hall in the center of campus.
  • Darbs: Members of Dabney House
  • Ditch Day: A day in third term when seniors set up activities for underclassmen as a sort of odd tradition. There are no classes on Ditch Day; it's a Caltech holiday.
  • Flems: Members of Fleming House
  • IHC: The Interhouse Council which consists of elected offices and the presidents of the seven houses.
  • Lloydies: Members of Lloyd House
  • Midnight Donuts: ASCIT periodically has donuts at midnight on the Olive Walk for all ASCIT members.
  • Moles: Members of Blacker House
  • OPI: Ruddock's interhouse party
  • RF Courtyard: The courtyard between Ricketts and Fleming
  • Rotation: The week-long process where new students visit all seven houses and pick/get picked into one of the houses.
  • Rudds: Members of Ruddock House
  • The SAC: The Student Activities Center in the basement of the South Houses.
  • Scurves: Members of Ricketts House
  • S'mores: Sophomores
  • The Tech: The Caltech student-run newspaper
  • Tech/Techers: Students here refer to Caltech as just "Tech." Likewise the students here are Techers.
  • Tommy, Marsden, etc.: Students generally refer to texts by their authors since so many of the books have titles like, "Introduction to . . . "
  • The Wedding Cake: Students sometime refer to Beckman Auditorium as "The Wedding Cake," because it is big, white, and circular.
  • Ditch Day: This started as a prank played on seniors who all ditched on a specified day near the end of third-term their senior year. The underclassmen would barricade or "stack" the seniors' rooms so they could not get in. This evolved to the present-day Caltech holiday when seniors set up elaborate puzzles and activities to occupy the underclassmen on the day they ditch. At the end of the day, the underclassmen are given a bribe of candy, sweets, etc. If the underclassmen find the seniors' activities "stack" to be lame, they "counter stack" the room by barricading it. At the end of Ditch Day, the canon on the Olive Walk is fired, and the seniors become "ghosts" as the juniors officially become seniors.
  • Rotation: This is the week-long meeting of freshmen and upperclassmen at the beginning of the school year. At the end of Rotation, the cannon is fired, and the pre-frosh (new students) become freshmen and the previous freshmen become sophomores.
Urban Legends
  • A fun rumor is that there's a graduate student who runs the fountain in Millikan Pond. Supposedly, he was trapped under the pond by a crazy professor.
  • There are generally rumors about professors who make their graduate students and undergraduates work insane hours. Some professors are rumored to make their students work every day for 12 hours, including weekends.
Favorite Things To Do
Star in a play with Associated Students of California Institute of Technology (ASCIT), sing with one of the glee clubs or a cappella groups, join a dance group, or see a show performed in the Caltech auditorium. When most Caltechers get free time (or even if they don't have any free time), they hang out with friends. Students will often go to the coffeehouse in the SAC to grab a snack, go out to dinner, or watch a movie. Techers either go to the movie theater, use the ASCIT screening room, or just watch one on a computer in someone's room. Sometimes, students will work on house projects, like the innerhouse parties. And, of course, there is the most favorite pastime of all—sleep.
Student Organizations Web Site
Student Newspaper
The California Tech
Student Activities Offered
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Pep band
  • Student government
  • Student newspaper
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: Yes

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 9 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 11 responses

  • 55% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 27% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 18% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 0% I hate my school and have no school spirit.


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