About living on campus

Living on campus is an integral part of the Calvin educational experience. The learning that takes place within communities of residents is a catalyst for social, spiritual, moral and intellectual development. The seven traditional residence halls, with rooms configured in suites of two rooms and one bathroom (two students per room), and the eleven apartment-style buildings (four or five students per apartment) are all located within short walking distance of academic buildings and parking. Within the residence halls and apartments, there are opportunities for deeper learning through a number of optional living-learning and themed clusters, including topics such as environmental stewardship, understanding race and anti-racism, faith and athletics, language immersion and an honors community.

All residence halls are staffed by full-time, masters-level staff members who supervise various student leadership groups and ensure a safe and healthy environment for the development of all residents. All student rooms are furnished and have internet and campus cable access. Storage and quiet study rooms are available in hall basements, as well as free laundry facilities. Meal plans provide a wide variety of food options at every meal.

- From the Calvin College Catalog, 2010

Residency Requirement

Calvin requires all first and second year students to live on campus. We also offer on-campus housing for students beyond their first two years when it is no longer a requirement. Exceptions to the residency requirement are granted only for students living with their parents or legal guardians, students who are married, part-time, 21 years or older, or students who are two years beyond their high school graduation date.

Non-traditional age students requesting on-campus housing

Calvin College provides on-campus housing most suitable for traditional age college students (ages 17–22). However, new students who are outside of this age range may apply for on-campus housing and the college may request an interview in order to find the best available housing option. Placement of younger students will be done in coordination with parents or guardians. Additional housing options may exist for older students.

The Residence Life mission statement

As partners in enacting the mission of Calvin College, the Residence Life Department is dedicated to the learning experience of students through on-campus living. We challenge and support students in their development as whole persons, responsible participants in their communities and faithful citizens of God's kingdom. Through vibrant experiences and opportunities we strive to connect students' hearts to God's heart in all things.

Residence Life learning outcomes (Revised, May 2015)

Healthy relationships

Through fun times and conflicts, with people similar and different than you, expect to grow in your understanding of healthy relationships as you learn from one another in community.

Faith development

Through group and individual opportunities such as Bible studies, times of prayer or worship or late night conversations, you’ll develop a more personal Christian faith and kingdom vision.

Social responsibility

You’ll be challenged to see how your decisions and behaviors, and also those of others, impact people in community so that we all share responsibility for our neighbor.


Whether it’s time management, personal hygiene, wellness or self-control, you’ll learn about motivation and management of your life as you grow in independence.

Congruent decision making

You’ll begin to connect beliefs and actions, learning and living—recognizing how your knowledge and faith should impact your decisions and choices as people living in God’s world.

Residence Life department goals

To effectively promote student learning and the Christian character of our communities, the Residence Life Department is committed to the following goals:

  1. To ensure safe, well-maintained and accessible facilities for all residents.
  2. To encourage learning, retention and graduation.
  3. To uphold campus standards of conduct and to encourage student responsibility to these.
  4. To promote campus and community resources for students related to health, wellness and academic success.
  5. To shape intentional settings, events and opportunities for student learning, in order to promote understanding of diversity, justice and citizenship in God’s world.
  6. To lead by example in our own conduct, relationships with students and development as professionals and Christ-followers.
  7. Through all of the above, to nurture personal and communal faith formation in our communities, so that students grow in lives of faith and congruence.

Christian community at Calvin

Christian community depends on you as a resident of your hall or apartment building. It is not a set of rules, though rules are needed at times for the orderly operation of any community. Nor is it the presence of Bible studies, prayer groups or opportunities for worship, though you’ll find those here. Instead, it’s the character of the people who live in the community–their desire to actively live as Christians. All of us become leaders in this, as we all have a role in the community. What will be your role? To prepare for living in with one another, please consider the following biblical exhortations that serve as our guiding principles for Christian community.

1. Remember, it's not only about you!

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”
~Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

This passage is our guiding principle for how we treat one another—from roommates to suitemates to people on our floors or in our buildings. As Christians, our lives are not our own. We live for others, just as Jesus did. Our actions and decisions affect others, and this influence calls us toward care, sensitivity, and responsibility for the way we live in community.

2. Give grace—we are all growing in God

“…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
~ II Peter 3:18 (NIV)

The overall goal of Residence Life is student learning—intellectual, social and spiritual—through the varied experiences of life on-campus. All of this learning is done in the context of faith, so that we understand more fully how we relate to each other and to our God. What is the implication for our life together? We strive to learn and grow personally, to actively encourage this growth in others, and to avoid becoming stumbling blocks to those around us.

“I have a quiet, private place to study; living on campus has allowed me to enjoy many documentaries, lectures, films and other activities that I likely would have skipped if I’d lived at home.”
95% of residents agree that our community offers a positive Christian atmosphere. (Fall 2009 survey)

3. You are called to be a problem-resolver

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church.”
~Matthew 18:15-17 (Message)

We are bound to hurt, anger or frustrate each other at times, often without knowing it. We avoid gossip and resentment by talking with the person who hurts us, directly and honestly. If someone confronts us, we are gracious in listening, honest in taking responsibility, and eager to make things right. When we are able to speak, listen, confront and forgive, we grow as a community. Residence Life staff are equipped to assist navigating conflict if individual conversations do not resolve the issue.