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Cornell University

What to Pack & What Not to Bring

For Spring 2021 arrival, please remember that you will need to be able to transport your own belongings to your room, which is why we've limited students to the equivalent of two large suitcases and a backpack on move-in day. If you need accommodations for the move-in process, please contact Student Disability Services at

Friends or family members traveling with you are welcome to say goodbye when they drop you off, but will not be allowed in any campus building or your hotel room, to safeguard the health of all members of the Cornell community.

What will be provided in your room/apartment: Visit Housing Amenities for details about furnishings, laundry facilities, Internet service, phone service, and other importation information.

What you should pack when you move to campus

It's a good idea to check with your roommate (if you have one), so you don't duplicate items:

  • sheets and bedding that fit an extra-long twin bed, sized 8" thick by 36" wide by 80" long
  • a pillow and towels
  • personal care items
  • clothing for New York summer and early fall weather
  • your computer
  • small office supplies

You should consider shipping other items that you might want to have on hand for the semester - either from home or from retailers:

  • a container to carry toiletries back and forth to the bathroom, a bathrobe, and flip-flops to wear in the shower

  • stackable storage crates, organizers that fit under a bed, and clothes hangers
  • office supplies, including a UL-approved outlet strip with breaker switch (extension cords are prohibited)
  • an alarm clock and a fan (most buildings are not air-conditioned)
  • a minifridge or a microfridge (microwave-refrigerator combination): you can rent one (if you purchase a minifridge, please make sure it draws no more than 7.3 amps [840 watts] to start and 1.4 amps [160 watts] while running)
  • a bike! Most buildings on campus have designated bicycle racks or storage areas (please keep in mind that some racks are outside, and remember to bring a lock); you must register your bike with Transportation Services when you get to campus

One more thing to consider: All students should think about insurance coverage for their personal property. You will want to make certain that you cell phone, laptop, clothing, and other personal property items are covered for incidents that result in damage or loss of your belongings. If you are not currently covered under a policy with your family, consider Cornell University's preferred personal property insurance provider, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Participation in this plan is optional, but strongly encouraged. Find out more here.

What NOT to bring or ship

There are several items that you are not permitted to have in your room (please also refer to House Rules and your Housing License Terms and Conditions):

  • self-balancing scooters, commonly known as hover boards (for fire safety reasons related to the battery)

  • e-scooters, which are currently illegal in New York and won't be permitted on campus
  • extension cords
  • "spider" lamps, and any lamp (particularly a halogen lamp) that requires a bulb greater than 150 watts
  • appliances not controlled by thermostats - for example, immersion coils (thermostatically controlled appliances are permitted - like popcorn poppers, coffee pots, automatic toasters - but must be operated in your building's kitchen)
  • freestanding microwave ovens (except in the Townhouse apartments, where microwaves are permitted)
  • a minifridge that draws more than 7.3 amps (800 watts) to start and 1.4 amps while running
  • large appliances - washing machines or full-size refrigerators
  • candles, and incense burners
  • air conditioning units of any kind
  • pets, except for service dogs, and fish in tanks no larger than ten gallons (the exception is Ecology House, where residents can keep small pets that are confined at all times to cages or aquariums)
  • weapons and firearms (these must be registered and kept with Cornell University Police)
  • a desk lamp, cinder blocks, and extra furniture, for space reasons and to avoid duplication with items that will already be provided in your room
Shopping in Ithaca

Many families, particularly those traveling from a distance or flying, wait until they get to Ithaca before buying items like bedding, towels, organizational units, school supplies, and toiletries. Many items can be bought at The Cornell Store; others can be found at the nearby mall or in stores in downtown Ithaca.

Bringing a car to campus

We strongly discourage new students from bringing their cars. Traffic and parking are restricted on campus; mostly you'll be walking or using public transit. If you do plan to bring a car, you must register it with Transportation Services and pay a parking fee.