Bennington College Statement on Housing
Central to Bennington’s founding vision is the belief that education is most meaningful when self-directed. Equally central is the idea that a Bennington education is more than a sequence of courses taken: the capacities and self-reliance needed to define and pursue a Bennington education are developed both inside and outside the classroom throughout a student’s years at the College. Simply put, learning takes place anywhere and at any time at Bennington.
The residential experience is thus an integral part of each student’s experience at Bennington. Just as in the classroom, students from all class years benefit in their living environment from each other’s ideas and experiences. Discussions of work extend seamlessly from the classroom to the common room; peers support and challenge each other, helping to sharpen and refine thinking and making. Similarly, living together in communities promotes discourse, debate, inclusivity, and the development of empathy through the ongoing practice of personal and social responsibility and shared governance.
...[T]he College provides a range of housing options to enable student development, honoring individual needs as appropriate...and attesting that we learn best together.
Please explore the information in this section to get a stronger sense of what Residential Life at Bennington looks like. Housing at Bennington is an important component not only to the residential experience, but also the curricular experience, of our students.
- The Office of Student Life and the Residential Life staff work to ensure housing is as fruitful and fulfilling for students as it can be.
- The diversity of architectural spaces in the Colonials, Barnes, and Woo Houses offer students ample and varied opportunities to integrate their curricular, co-curricular, and social experiences successfully.
- Our houses develop into unique microcosms based on the individuals living in them. This diversity of space and place is founded on a fundamental commitment to the development of communities inclusive of all students and their experiences, identities, and backgrounds.
There are many types of houses on campus
- The Colonial houses, the Barnes houses, and the Woo houses
- Co-op/Alternative Housing: Welling Townhouse (co-op), Paran Creek Apartments (off campus) Longmeadow and Shingle Cottage (intentional living houses). You must live on campus for at least one year before you are eligible to live in the Welling Townhouse, Paran Creek Apartments, or Longmeadow. Only seniors are eligible to live in Shingle Cottage.
Colonials (Built 1930s)
Barnes (Built 1970s)
Woo (Built 2000s)
Helpful Housing Information
Before you Arrive
Whether it is from summer break or Field Work Term, here are a few things to remember before you return to campus
- Over the summer, the Office of Student Life will send you an email confirming your housing assignment for the coming term. Be sure to read this email carefully and ensure it matches the information that you have. If you have any questions about housing assignments, always feel free to email email@example.com.
- Coordinate with your roommate(s) if you plan to bring certain electronics or small appliances, such as TVs, stereo equipment, and/or refrigerators. Please refer to the list of Permitted Items and Prohibited Items below.
- 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) each year so be mindful of how much you bring.
- Here is a packing list to help you decide what you need to bring.
Beginning of Term
Returning to campus is an exhilarating (and at times exhausting!) process. Here is some useful information to consider as you arrive back at Bennington
- Arrival: Make sure you arrive to campus on the right date and time! Only students approved for early arrival may return to campus before the date and time listed on the Academic Calendar. If you have an extenuating circumstance or are traveling over 500 miles, you may be eligible to arrive 24 hours in advance of this date and time. If you feel you meet these requirements and would like to request early arrival, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Campus Safety and members of Student Life will be around when houses open to help you find what you need as you move into your room for the term.
- Keys: All students must pick up their keys as soon as they arrive on campus. In order to keep our campus (and you) as safe and secure as possible, we strongly recommend that students lock their doors when they are not in their room. Pay close attention to Digital Coffee Hour for specifics about when and where to pick up your key.
- Room Condition Report: Before you arrive, House Chairs, Student Life, and/or Buildings and Grounds do a thorough walkthrough of your room to ensure all damages, wear and tear, and work orders are correctly noted. Please take some time to look at your room and furniture upon arrival to note any existing damage and contact email@example.com to report anything. Feel free to take photographs for your records.
- Bennington Card access: When you arrive make sure to try your Bennington Card to access the exterior doors of your house. If you are having trouble accessing your house or any other house on campus, check-in with Campus Safety first. They may direct you to Information Technology for further assistance.
- Moving in: Once you arrive and have picked up your key you will be ready to move into your room. Consult the list of items that you are allowed to bring and the list of items that are prohibited. If you have any questions about specific items or are unsure if something is prohibited or allowed, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Explore: Be sure to take a walk not only around your house, but the whole campus! College staff have been hard at work preparing and maintaining our buildings and grounds for your arrival. See what has changed and what has remained the same.
Field Work Term Move Out
- Arranging Storage: On campus storage is offered to students living in Bingham, Fels, Noyes, Merck, Paris-Borden, Perkins, and Sawtell over Field Work Term as residents of these houses must move entirely out of their rooms in December. Storage space is limited so be sure to pay close attention to the End-of-Term Announcements with specific storing guidelines.
- Retrieving Stored Items: If you have stored some of your belongings on campus over Field Work Term please consult the guidelines for retrieving your belongings provided by the Office of Student Life prior to your arrival in Digital Coffee Hour. Storage is typically opened to students who need to retrieve belongings during the first week of term.
- The College is not responsible for damaged or lost items left in campus storage.
- Please also note that there is no College-provided transportation or moving services.
End of Term
As you begin to celebrate the end of your term and all the hard work you have done, consult the following to prepare for your departure
- Moving out: Make sure to move all of your belongings out of your room at the end of term.* Take down all of your wall decorations, empty your drawers and closets, and give your room a good sweeping. House Chairs, Student Life, and/or Buildings and Grounds will complete a thorough walkthrough and Room Condition Report of all vacated student rooms to note the condition in which the room was left. The College is not responsible for damaged or lost items left in the houses after the close of term. *Students living in the Colonial Houses are allowed to leave their belongings in their rooms for the duration of Field Work Term and thus need only complete a Room Check-Out form. Students living in Bingham, Fels, Noyes, Merck, Paris-Borden, Perkins, and Sawtell must move entirely out of their rooms for Field Work Term.
- Keys: All students must return their keys before they leave campus at the end of term.* Keys should be placed in one of the key drop boxes located in Campus Safety and Student Life in an envelope with their name and room number clearly written on it. If you have lost your key or fail to return it upon your departure, you will be assessed a $100 charge. *Students in the Colonial Houses are must hold onto their key during Field Work Term (be sure not to lose it!). Students in Bingham, Fels, Noyes, Merck, Paris-Borden, Perkins, and Sawtell must return their keys before the leave for Field Work Term.
- Storage: Storage is not provided to students over the summer. If you have general storage questions, ask email@example.com.
What to bring to campus:
It is always a good idea to travel light but if you get to campus and decide you need something there is a Walmart and Home Depot in town.
- Linens: sheets to fit a Twin XL bed, pillow(s), pillow cases, comforter/bedspread/quilt, blanket(s), towels, wash cloth(s)
- Toiletries: shampoo/conditioner, soap/body wash, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, mouthwash, fingernail clippers, makeup/makeup remover, lotion, razor(s), shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, facial tissues
- Clothes: Vermont’s climate ranges from heat and humidity in the summers to very cold in the winters. We recommend layers of clothing including boots, heavy coat, scarves, gloves, and hat(s).
- School supplies: books, writing utensils, notebooks, paper, composition/sketch books, art supplies, calculator(s), computer, music equipment/instruments.
- Decor: you may bring items to decorate your room, but keep in mind that decorations must not cover smoke detectors and will need to be taken down at the end of the term/year. Pictures, posters, and other decorative items (can be hung with sticky tack or small push pins)
- Kitchen supplies: you may want to bring a few supplies (pot, pan, cookie sheet, bowl, plate, utensils, spatula, etc.) so that you can cook meals in your house’s communal kitchen.
- Covid-19 safety supplies: Hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, 5-7 cloth face coverings.
Check with your roommate before bringing the following items:
- Gaming console(s)
- Extra furniture/lamps
Tip: Keep in mind that you will need to move out of your room and take your items home or store your items during winter break and Field Work Term if you live in Bingham, Fels, Merck, Noyes, Paris-Borden, Perkins, and Sawtell.
Items allowed in your room
- 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 kettles, 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)
- Towels and shower caddy
- 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; see recommended standards
- Stereo equipment
- Dorm-sized refrigerator (less than 3 cubic feet); refrigerators are also available in house kitchens
- TV and VCR/DVD player; 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
- Creature comforts (things that make you feel comfortable and at home)
- White-noise machine (if you're sensitive to noise)
- Electric aroma diffuser
- Battery-operated twinkle lights
If you have any questions about specific items or are unsure if something is prohibited or allowed, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Items prohibited from your room
- 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 (note: possession of such will result in fines and disciplinary action)
- Plug-in twinkle lights (there are many solar-powered twinkle light alternatives)
If you have any questions about specific items or are unsure if something is prohibited or allowed, please do not hesitate to email email@example.com.
- Community Living Agreement
- Room Change Request Form
- House Chair Application
- Late Checkout Application
- Early Arrival Application
- Off-Campus Housing Application
- Roommate Agreement (Double)
- Roommate Agreement (Triple)
- Room Condition Report (RCR)
- Shingle Cottage Housing Application
- Longmeadow Housing Application
- Summer Housing Application
- Winter Break/Field Work Term Housing Application
- End of Term Move-out Checklist
We believe that [the College's] educational goals are best served by demanding of our students active participation in the planning of their own programs, and in the regulation of their own lives on campus. Bennington College commencement statement
Bennington College is home to a robust community, inclusive of a diversity of experiences, identities, and interests.
- Residential life at the College is central to student learning—our Houses are home to student learners, educators, and leaders.
- Students shape the residential spaces just as they shape their educational trajectory, with self-restraint and active participation at the center of these twin processes.
- Our student leaders facilitate the development of this collaborative and self-directed understanding of residential life.
- Self-governance is at the center of community life at Bennington—the small house structure, House Chair program, Community Living Agreement, and other aspects of our community promote an empowered and self-governed residential experience
Community Living Agreement
At the beginning of each term, House Chairs guide their residents through a Community Living Agreement (CLA) during Coffee Hour - the weekly house gathering. The CLA is often revisited throughout the term to ensure the information remains relevant the community's experience. Here are some of the broader themes at the center of the Community Living Agreement:
Courtesy is a central tenet to community living at Bennington. All houses are "courtesy houses," meaning that conflicts and challenging moments in the house are expected to be managed respectfully and with integrity. The Community Living Agreement allows house communities to define what courtesy means to them.
Set Quiet Hours
While all houses adhere to courtesy as a rule, the Community Living Agreement allows houses to set specific quiet hours. Quiet Hours provide guidelines around noise levels in the evening and early morning.
Negotiate Use of Space
- Common spaces are important aspects of each house community. They allow residents to gather to study, discuss exciting coursework, socialize, and host community events. As these spaces are shared by all residents (and students who live outside of a given house), each house community agrees to certain practices around sharing these spaces.
- Whether it's weekly Coffee Hour or a house-hosted event, house gatherings happen frequently. The Community Living Agreement offers residents an opportunity to set expectations around planning events and using community spaces for larger gatherings.
House Chair Program
The purpose of the House Chair program is to
- Facilitate inclusive and community-minded living spaces in close collaboration with residents, other House Chairs, and staff for the residential experience at Bennington College
- Work collaboratively with their peers to create networks of support, empowering residents to take responsibility for—and ownership of—their learning and their shared community
- Engage students in the various residential spaces across campus through peer advising, programming, and community discussions
Enrich the Residential Experience
- Enrich the residential experience by working alongside relevant departments such as Student Life, Campus Safety, Health/Psych Services, Buildings and Grounds, Academic Services, and Dining Services to enhance the student experience
House Chairs are selected and supervised by Residential Life staff in the Office of Student Life. Each house at Bennington has two House Chairs that help facilitate community development within residential life.