Student Life and the Residential Experience

students talking and playing on a green lawn

You have chosen a college that allows you to pursue your intellectual inquiry inside and outside the classroom. At Bennington, learning can (and does) take place anywhere, anytime.

As you might expect from a college that asks students to design their own course of study, Bennington also supports student self-governance, which naturally works best with lively participation from students in all years. In particular, residential life at Bennington is built on a foundation of self-directed learning through self-governance. This is a model in which individuals understand that their actions and inactions affect others in and around the community and, therefore, make decisions to hold themselves and community members accountable. It means, for example, that you clean up after yourself in the bathroom, kitchen, and common areas without being asked because other people also use those spaces.

Below you will find much more information about housing and residential life at Bennington, provided specifically to help you plan for your arrival. We are of course happy to help in any way that we can in the meantime. We’re very excited to have you join our vibrant community and look forward to seeing the many ways you will help shape our community.

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Housing

Living with a roommate is an important part of Bennington’s residential experience. All first- and second-year students and some third-year students are paired with one or more roommates. Students learn valuable skills around communication, negotiation, conflict resolution and advocacy through living with others and, therefore, it is rare for an incoming student to be placed in a single room. At Bennington, each house community is shaped by the people who live within it. That’s what makes it a home. The information you provide on the Housing Questionnaire will assist us in pairing you with a roommate. We encourage you to fill out this questionnaire on your own and please answer as thoughtfully and honestly as possible.

You will receive your roommate information and housing assignment for the upcoming year in early August. It may be an exciting and overwhelming experience for you. Most narratives that students hear about college roommates fall into two camps: roommate becomes the best friend forever or roommate is the most horrible person on the planet. The reality is most roommate experiences fall in the middle.

Here are a few ideas and tips to help you as you navigate this new experience:

  • Communicate. Reach out and/or respond to your roommate before arriving on campus. We want you to connect with your roommate via a phone call, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or Google Hangout rather than only through social media sites, email, or texting. Verbal and face-to-face communication allows for a stronger foundation, especially early in the relationship.
  • Have an Open Mind. It is unlikely that we will be able to find a perfect match based on the housing questionnaires. We do our best to make as many good matches as possible. If you are matched with another student who seems different than you and/or any of your friends are, we encourage you to keep an open and positive attitude. Part of the college experience is to develop a diverse understanding of others. And, this could be a great opportunity to learn more about yourself.
  • Brainstorm. If sharing a room is something new for you or you’ve had experiences and already know some areas that might be difficult for you to navigate, be proactive and generate ideas to prevent issues. If you are a light sleeper, you might consider bringing a pair of ear plugs. If you are sensitive to light, an eye mask could be a solution. If you or your roommate like(s) to listen to loud music, headphones will be key. 
  • Be Realistic. Many students rely on their roommate to be a best friend during and after college. The reality is you will make many, many connections while at Bennington through orientation, student clubs, classes, work study, and at the dining hall. A roommate, minimally, should be someone with whom you can respectfully share common spaces.
  • Complete the Roommate Agreement. Every roommate pair or trio is asked to complete a roommate agreement. This is an exercise where students have an active and engaged conversation about how they will share the space and how they will communicate when issues arise. This is always a great first step to negotiating and resolving issues.

We’re here to help! If you need assistance navigating any housing question—now or in the fall, House Chairs along with staff in the Office of Residential Life are available as resources.  

    Getting to Know Housing at Bennington

    Houses at a Glance

    • Colonial: Bingham,* Booth, Canfield, Kilpatrick, Dewey, Leigh, Franklin, Stokes, McCullough, Swan, Welling, Woolley (1930s)
    • Barnes: Fels, Noyes, Sawtell (1970s)*
    • Woo: Merck, Paris-Borden, Perkins (2000s)*
    • Alternative Housing: Paran Creek, Longmeadow, Shingle Cottage, and Welling Townhouse (off campus co-op)**

    *Due to housing needs for other College programs during FWT, students in Fels, Merck, Noyes, Paris-Borden, Perkins, Sawtell, and Bingham will need to move completely out of their rooms in these houses and store their belongings in designated areas provided by the College. All students must move out and take all of their belongings during the summer break.

    **Students must live on campus for at least one year before they are eligible to live in the Welling Townhouse or Longmeadow. Housing in Shingle Cottage is only available to students in their final year

    House Chairs

    Each house has two House Chairs, who are undergraduate students serving as community leaders to house residents. They are knowledgeable about resources available on campus, serve as liaisons between campus services and your house, and run a weekly house meeting called Coffee Hour. Whether there’s a problem with noise or cleaning the kitchen, a discussion about campus issues, or a house dinner to coordinate, Coffee Hour is where it will be addressed. Your House Chairs will be here to greet you when you arrive and will be available throughout the term to help with any housing issues you might have.

    Furnishings

    Student rooms are approximately 10'x13', with variations depending on the architecture of the house. You and your roommate(s) each will have the following furnishings for your room:

    Note: College furnishings cannot be removed from student rooms and storage space is limited, so you are strongly discouraged from bringing large furnishings (e.g. sofa, futon, etc.) with you to campus.

    • Twin-size bed (mattress, box spring, and frame)—note: you will need to bring your own bedding (extra-long sheets, pillow(s), blanket(s), mattress cover)
    • Desk and chair
    • Bookcase
    • Dresser
    • Closet or wardrobe
    • Internet access (wired and wireless)
    • Telephone by request (phone service online opt-in due by September 15)

    Permitted Items

    We encourage you to coordinate with your roommate(s) if you plan to bring certain electronics or small appliances, such as TVs, stereo equipment, and small refrigerators.

    Your room is your home away from home at Bennington so we want you to make it as comfortable as possible. Keep in mind that you will need to move all of your belongings out of the room at some point (sometimes twice depending on which house you live in) each year so be mindful of how much stuff you bring.

    • Microwaves, mini-fridges, hair dryers, electric aroma diffusers, and solar-powered twinkle lights are allowed to be used (plugged in) in your room—other plug-in devices (e.g., hair irons, clothing irons, rice cookers, electric kettle, Keurig coffee makers, etc.) can only be used (plugged in) in the bathrooms and kitchens
    • Seasonal clothing (heavy coat, hat, boots, gloves, and rain gear)
    • Bedding—pillow, comforters, blankets, mattress cover, mattress pad, and linens (all beds require twin extra-long sheets)
    • Hangers
    • Towels and shower caddy
    • Toiletries
    • Laundry bag/basket and detergent
    • Pictures, posters, and other decorative items (can be hung with sticky tack or small push pins)
    • Alarm clock
    • Lamps (desk, floor)—lamps are not furnished and most rooms in the Colonial houses do not provide overhead lighting; 13-watt or 19-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs are encouraged, or incandescent bulbs of 60 watts or less
    • Power strips (UL listed only); extension cords are not permitted
    • Computer
    • Stereo equipment
    • Dorm-sized refrigerator (less than 3 cubic feet); shared refrigerators are also available in house kitchens
    • TV (cable television is not provided in student rooms or houses)
    • Area rugs
    • Broom and other cleaning supplies
    • Bicycle and lock
    • Storage bins for under your bed
    • White-noise machine (if you're sensitive to noise)

    Prohibited Items

    If you have any questions about specific items or are unsure if something is prohibited or allowed, please do not hesitate to email us at housing@bennington.edu.

    • Pets (other than fish)
    • Hot plate or other appliances with an exposed heating element (coffee makers are allowed in kitchens but cannot be kept in rooms)
    • Halogen lamps
    • Any heavy-use appliance that exceeds 1,000 watts (air conditioners, electric, kerosene, or gas heaters)
    • Candles or incense of any kind 
    • Firearms/weapons
    • Plug-in twinkle lights (there are many solar-powered twinkle light alternatives)
    • Hoverboards

    Housing Accommodations

    If you require housing accommodations due to a documented disability (medical, psychological, physical, etc.), please review our Accommodations and Support webpage and complete the Disability Accommodation Request form by June 1, 2021.

    Vehicle Registration

    • Automobiles: You may bring a vehicle to campus; parking permits are $140 annually ($70 for each term). You can register your vehicle at Check-in at Orientation. Remember to bring a valid operator’s license, proof of registration, and proof of insurance (the State of Vermont also requires these to be carried in all vehicles). All vehicles must be registered with Campus Safety by the end of the first week of term.
    • Bicycles: If you bring your bike to campus, you are encouraged to register your bike with Campus Safety. Again, you can register your bike at Check-in at Orientation by filling out a form and having your bicycle recorded in our database or any time within the first 7 days of the start of the Fall term. Bicycles must be stored either in bike racks outside the houses or in your room. During Field Work Term, free storage space is available on campus for bicycles.

    Safety and Protection Services and Assistance

    Campus Safety officers are on duty seven days a week, 24 hours a day to provide protection and assistance to all members of the College community. In addition, Campus Safety enforces non-academic rules and regulations established by the College, oversees vehicle registration, and works to promote a cooperative and safe environment for students, faculty, and staff living on campus. Campus Safety personnel regularly make rounds of all College buildings and patrol the campus. For more information regarding safety on campus, contact Campus Safety, 802-447-4250.

    Guests

    Your guests must sign in with Campus Safety upon arrival. The College’s complete guest policy is outlined in the Student Handbook. Note: You are not permitted to have guests during Orientation or during the last week of each term.

    Additional Resources and Campus Services

    Questions? Ask Us