Housing isn't five-star, but it's certainly functional. With a primarily residential campus, most students live in campus housing all four years they attend Cornell. While a majority of the dorms are communal-style living, with each floor sharing one or two bathrooms, the two newest residence halls feature suite-style rooms—and air conditioning. Freshmen definitely get the short end of the stick, housed in buildings rumored to be designed by a man who also designed prisons. But the options definitely improve with seniority. The room selection process is a unique lottery system. Students draw numbers based on their class year and then those numbers decide the order for room selection, also by class year. The suite-style dorms use a separate lottery system in which points are awarded based on the class year of each person wanting to live in a suite.
The requirement to live on campus fosters a strong sense of community both in the residence halls and on the campus in general. Each dorm has a Hall Council, which plans social events for the building, including finals food study breaks at the end of each block. Cornell’s Residence Life office has several active programs, including the First-Year Success Series. The community feel is fostered by the number of students who stick around over weekends. Even over the four-day block breaks, the dorms are rarely empty.