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Cornell University

Risley Residential College

Housing Location

Risley Residential College, Ithaca, NY 14850

Whether your interest is dance, music, theatre, fine or visual arts, Risley provides a supportive environment for creating, performing, and exploring. You don't have to be a theatre, art, or music major to live in Risley; its 194 residents are from many walks for life and have a variety of interests and talents.

Since its inception in 1970, the college has resided in Risley Hall, a beautiful castle-like building built in 1913. Risley houses a popular 80-seat student-run theatre, a community coffeehouse, a stained-glass shop, two music practice rooms, a multimedia studio, a recording studio, a print shop, wood and metal shops, an art studio, a darkroom, a video-editing studio, a sewing shop, and a pottery studio. All of that, and one of the best-kept secrets on campus - Risley Dining, a dining room modeled after the Christ Church Refectory at Oxford University.'Risleyites'' are proud not only of its rich history, but also the traditions that make it such a unique and special place. Annual events such as the MasqueRave - Halloween-themed bash, or the traditional reading of Handel's Messiah are open to the entire Cornell community. There are also numerous house activities like coffeehouse drawing sessions, concerts, theatrical and dance productions, and the twice-annual showing of cult film classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show complete with a live performance.

Explore the Risley community pages in CampusGroups.

Community features:  

  • Open to first-year, transfer, and upperlevel students 
  • 194 residents 
  • Located on North Campus, near Robert Purcell Community Center and Appel Commons 
  • Single and double rooms arranged on corridors, with both single-sex and gender-neutral bathrooms 
  • A dining hall, community lounges, art spaces and workshops, and kitchens on every floor 
  • Bedrooms contain, for each occupant: an extra-long twin bed, a closet and a bureau (or wardrobe/bureau combination), a desk and desk chair, a desk lamp, a wastebasket, recycle bin, and carpet on floors Virgins, Monks, 2nd and 3rd floors. (Eventually all carpet from bedrooms will be removed.)
  • Wireless Internet access

Risley Residential College rooms do not have air conditioning.

Faculty involvement:
Risley has several Faculty and Community Fellows that provide students with opportunities to explore and cultivate their academic, intellectual, and cultural interests. You will find them attending events in your building, dining with students, and leading on and off campus trips to lectures, plays, films, concerts, and regional points of interest.

How to apply for residency:
Application instructions and links can be found at Application Process: New Undergraduate Students and Application Process: Current Undergraduate Students. You will be asked to answer brief essay questions for each community to which you apply.

Dining options:
Learn about Cornell Dining's meal plans.

For more information about Risley (Creative Shops, Theatre, and/or Dance Studio) call (607) 255-9520 or email For more information about Risley Theatre, visit the website or email