Undergraduate Student Residences
Seven of the undergraduate student residences are situated on either side of the Olive Walk near the southeastern end of the campus. The original four—Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, and Ricketts—were built in 1931 from the plans of Mr. Gordon B. Kaufmann, in the Mediterranean style to harmonize with the adjacent Athenaeum. The other three, designed by Smith, Powell and Morgridge, were completed in 1960, and are named Lloyd, Page, and Venerable.
Each of these seven residences is a separate unit with its own dining room and lounge, providing accommodations for between 65 and 100 students, depending on the facility. Each has its own elected officers; a long history of shared governance gives students a great deal of influence over their living environments. Residential life coordinators (RLCs) are specially trained full-time university employees specializing in college student development, community building, counseling, and crisis intervention. The RLCs supervise the resident associates (RAs) on programming and overall student wellness. The RLCs also assist Housing with the management and daily operations of the residences. Each residence has one or more RA, who are typically graduate students. Mail is delivered daily to the student mailboxes. Students should use their mailbox number, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91126, to facilitate handling of mail at the campus post office. For more information, please visit housing.caltech.edu.
Made possible by a gift from trustee R. Stanton Avery, this undergraduate residence and innovative residential complex was designed by Moore, Ruble, Yudell, and completed in September 1996. Located at the north end of the campus, Avery has an RLC, two RAs, two faculty apartments, and rooms for about 136 undergraduates. Its dining facilities, meeting rooms, lounges, and library are designed to encourage informal faculty-student interaction and to attract all members of the campus community to join in this interaction. Avery hosts programs and social events that facilitate involvement between residents and faculty in residence.
Established in the fall of 2018 and located at the northeast edge of campus, the Bechtel Residence is the first residence to open on campus since 1996. Bechtel is named in honor of Caltech life trustee Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr., the founder of the S. D. Bechtel Foundation.
The 95,000-square-foot residence is a multigenerational residence open to all undergraduates with: 211 student bedrooms arranged as singles and in suites; six RA and one RLC apartments; and two faculty-in-residence apartments. Bechtel was intentionally designed to provide the community with the greatest flexibility to maximize space as well as to encourage broader interaction, engagement, and residential life programming among residents. The facility includes three kitchens; eight common areas/study rooms; six laundry rooms; a 400-seat dining hall and servery; and support spaces.
Caltech will extend a License Contract to those individuals who satisfy the following criteria: (1) they have been approved by the Housing Office and the Undergraduate Dean’s Office; (2) they are eligible to enroll for the upcoming Fall Term by no later than the June UASH meeting; and (3) they are in good standing with both the Bursar’s Office and the Institute overall. Individuals must satisfy this criteria for the duration of the License Contract. If a Caltech student becomes ineligible to enroll, or is no longer in good standing with the Bursar’s Office, or in good standing with the Institute, or in good standing with their Institute-approved summer program, their License Contract will be automatically revoked. UASH meeting dates and petition deadlines can be found at registrar.caltech.edu/current-students/uash.
Student resources and activities
The Hameetman Center, which opened in 2019, is a new campus center built on the site of the former Winnett Student Center. The Hameetman Center replaces Winnett as Caltech’s central community gathering place. The 24,000-square-foot two-story center is named in honor of the Hameetman Foundation and Caltech trustee Fred Hameetman (BS ’62) and his wife, Joyce, who provided the initial funding to initiate the design of the reimagined campus hub. It features a large public lounge, an expanded Red Door Marketplace, the Caltech Store, music rehearsal facilities, student club rooms, a multipurpose room, and a conference room. The rehearsal facility is made possible thanks to a gift from Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics Steven Frautschi and his wife, Mie.
The Office of Residential Experience (ORE) has responsibility for the oversight of Caltech’s residential programs, including programs carried out in the undergraduate houses, graduate student residences, and the Bechtel and Marks-Braun communities. The ORE works collaboratively with the Residential Life Coordinators, Resident Associates, the Interhouse Committee, and other groups to ensure that student leaders in all our residential communities are trained and that there are programs in place to support their development. This is part of the shared governance that is central to the Caltech residential experience. The residence experience also includes member of the faculty who live in the undergraduate residences. The Faculty in Residence (FIR) Team establishes an academic life and culture in Bechtel and Avery House. FIRs bridge the classroom experience by hosting regular conversations over dinner and develop specialized academic programing, which can include: extracurricular activities, tours and excursions, cooperative community service projects, special events, and guest speaker programs.
All residences and houses, including all their activities and programs, are expected to comply with Institute policies, Student Affairs policies, and the Caltech Code of Conduct. Potential Policy or Code of Conduct violations by a house or residence will be referred to the Caltech Routing committee. If the Routing Committee determines that the incident(s) is part of a Residential or House program or activity, it will be referred to ORE for further action. In this case, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Residential Experience (AVP) or designee, will either (a) manage the situation directly with the community so the concerns can be addressed, or (b) initiate an investigation into the incident. If an investigation is conducted, the investigators will report their findings to the AVP who will make a decision concerning whether any violations occurred and any consequences that may be imposed. The decision of the AVP may be appealed to the Vice President for Student Affairs within 10 days of the decision.
During the investigation, the AVP can suspend activities of the house or residence until further notice if deemed necessary for the health, safety, or the other benefit of the community. A range of outcomes may be considered as consequences to the house or residence if the group is found to have engaged in a policy violation. Possible sanctions including community education and/or suspension of the activity or event. Examples of events that warrant a response include an unregistered event or party, mistreatment of members, and hazing. If the potential situation also includes a potential policy violation involving an individual student(s), the student(s) will be referred to the appropriate Dean’s office and may be subject to disciplinary action.
The Student Activities Center
The SAC is located in the basement of the south undergraduate housing complex and is open for student use 24 hours a day. The SAC provides office space for the officers of the undergraduate student government, working space for student publications, rehearsal space for musical activities, and space for many other student-oriented functions.
Whether students are interested in music, publications, student government, gaming, photography, or simply finding a room for their group to meet in, the SAC will probably have what is needed. The center also houses the South House laundry room and has several club rooms, a small library, a shop, and a movie screening room—most are open 24 hours.
Faculty-student coordination and cooperation with regard to campus affairs are secured through the presence of students on faculty committees, by faculty-student conferences, and by other mechanisms.
Each member of the first-year class is assigned a faculty adviser and is a member of a small advising group. The adviser follows the first-year student’s progress and provides advice on any questions or problems that the student may have.
Each member of the three undergraduate upper classes is assigned an option adviser, a faculty member in the option in which the student is enrolled. The adviser takes an interest in the student’s selection of courses and progress toward a degree, and, eventually, in assisting the student toward satisfactory placement in industry or in graduate school. Normally, the association between student and adviser is established before the beginning of the sophomore year and continues through graduation.
Athletics, Physical Education, & Recreation (APER)
Caltech supports an extensive program of competitive athletics. As a member of NCAA Division III and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Caltech participates in intercollegiate competition in 20 sports—10 each for men and women. All teams compete during a regular season, with many also competing or qualifying for the conference tournament in their respective sport. Individual scholar-athletes and teams distinguishing themselves can earn the privilege of participating in NCAA regional and national championships.
Caltech also sponsors vigorous club sports programs and intramural competition. Club sports include Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, badminton and soccer. Intramural competitions are contested by residence house teams in several sports, including soccer, dodgeball, kickball, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, volleyball, and floorball. Approximately 25 percent of Caltech undergraduates participate in intercollegiate athletics and over 80 percent participate in some form of organized athletic competition each year.
Outdoor athletic facilities include a brand-new turf mixed-use baseball and soccer field, a second natural grass mixed-use field, an all-weather running track, eight tennis courts, and two 25-yard, eight-lane swimming pools. Indoor facilities include two full-size gymnasiums; four racquetball courts, two squash courts; a 5,000-square-foot weight room, satellite weight room and more than 55 pieces of cardio-respiratory equipment, including treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals; and a large multipurpose room for dance/aerobics, martial arts and a variety of group fitness courses.
The department is also responsible for management of Caltech’s recreation programs and physical education curriculum.
More information can be found at gocaltech.com.
The president of each undergraduate house represents that house on the Interhouse Committee (IHC), which helps to handle matters affecting the houses, in conjunction with staff from Student Affairs. Members of the IHC are expected to be enrolled and in good standing, both academically (eligible, and not on probation) and disciplinarily (not on probation), during their tenure in office. The IHC works in conjunction with the APER department to conduct intramural competitions as described above, and conducts its own Discobolus Trophy competition, in which a house may challenge the house holding the trophy to a mutually agreed upon contest.
The undergraduate student body forms the membership of a corporation known as the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology, Inc., or ASCIT. Governed by a board of directors consisting of six elected officers, it is involved in many aspects of student life; oversees publication of The Tech, our undergraduate student newspaper; the Big T yearbook; a literary magazine called Totem; and the Little t, which provides lots of helpful information to incoming students. A directory, along with other student information, such as campus positions, links to the Interhouse Committee (IHC) and Academics and Research Committee (ARC), and other helpful information is available online at donut.caltech.edu.
Besides overseeing student publications and coordinating activities and policies, the ASCIT Board of Directors administers the corporation’s finances. ASCIT sponsors a wide variety of special-interest clubs and programs, working closely with Student Activities and Programs part of the Office of Residential Experience. The student government is active in campus affairs. The student members of standing faculty committee ensure that undergraduate opinion is considered seriously. Excellent informal relations between students and faculty and between students and administration promote discussion of mutual concern and goodwill. Student-faculty conferences are held every other year and serve to promote communication mainly around academic topics.
Graduate Student Council
The Graduate Student Council (GSC) is the student government for Caltech graduate students. It is the mission of the GSC to maximize the quality of life for the graduate student community at Caltech. The GSC Board of Directors interacts with the Institute’s administrative bodies and is formed of subcommittees dedicated to academic support, advocating graduate student issues, sharing student news, and organizing social events.
Student Leadership Expectations
Graduate and undergraduate student leaders who are in either elected or appointed positions must be enrolled and in good standing with the Institute.
The Honor Code, embodied in the phrase “No member shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community,” is the fundamental principle of conduct for all students and extends to all phases of campus life, including scholastic and extracurricular activities, relations among students, and relations between students and faculty. The Honor System is the most important tradition of the undergraduate student body. The Board of Control (Board), which is composed of elected student representatives, is charged with monitoring the academic Honor System for undergraduates, investigating course work violations, and making recommendations to the dean of undergraduate students. The purpose, composition, duties, and procedures of the Board, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the deans, faculty, vice president for student affairs, complainants (students reporting suspected violations), respondents (those against whom an allegation of an academic Honor System violation is made), witnesses, and other participants in the process, are set forth in Article XIII of the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology bylaws.
The Conduct Review Committee, composed of students, faculty, and staff, hears cases involving non-academic Honor Code and Institute policy violations for undergraduate students, and also makes recommendations to the dean. At their discretion, the dean of undergraduate students, or their designee, may directly handle a matter also involving the Honor System, the Code of Conduct, and Institute Policies for undergraduate students. The Honor Code Handbook, a resource for undergraduate students, is available online at deans.caltech.edu/HonorCode.
The Honor System is also an important part of graduate student life. The dean of graduate studies is responsible for reviewing and making decisions concerning alleged Honor Code violations with respect to course-work. The Graduate Honor Council (GHC) serves as a consultative resource to the dean. At their discretion, the dean of graduate studies may request that the GHC investigate and hear a case, and provide its recommendations to the dean for final review and decision. All Members of the Graduate Honor Council must be in good standing with the Office of Graduate Studies and must attend a formal training before they may serve on a case. Examples of Honor Code violations include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, violations of the collaboration policy in a class, and/or using resources that were strictly prohibited for homework and/or exams. Incidents that are not handled by the dean of graduate studies include accusations of research misconduct, which are handled by the Office of Research Compliance; grade disputes, which are handled by the office of the provost. Institute Policy violations are handled by the office of the dean of graduate studies or the appropriate administrative organization.
Student Body Publications
The publications of the student body include a weekly paper, The California Tech; an undergraduate research journal, CURJ; a literary magazine, Totem; a student handbook, the Little t, which gives a survey of student activities and organizations and serves as a campus directory; a yearbook, Big T; an online undergraduate research opportunities handbook, UROH; and Caltech Letters, an online campus publication designed to let students talk about their research and their viewpoints on science with the broader world. These publications, staffed entirely by students, provide an opportunity for interested students to obtain valuable experience in creative writing, photography, artwork, reporting and editing, advertising, and business management.
Performing and Visual Arts
The Institute provides directors and facilities for choirs, concert band, jazz band, symphony orchestra, numerous chamber music ensembles, guitar classes, a theater program, ceramics and studio arts classes. These activities are centered in the Music and Theater Arts houses on Hill Avenue along the eastern edge of campus.
All student clubs must be officially recognized in order to be in and remain in good standing with the Institute. To become officially recognized, the club must annually apply for recognition. You will find details regarding this process outlined in the Student Club Handbook, which is available on the Office of Residential Experience website (ore.caltech.edu).
Once the club is officially recognized, it may plan on maintaining that recognition for the duration of the current academic year. The details of how to remain in good standing with the Institute are outlined in detail within the Student Club Handbook. These details include club oversight, privileges, responsibilities, finances, and other very important information. A recognized club will receive the following privileges: the ability to recruit members; advertise events; secure funding; conduct officer elections; provide trainings and use Institute facilities for meetings and events. Additional, key elements of club recognition include but are not limited to, having an advisor, an appropriate purpose, and a leadership infrastructure. Note that only recognized clubs will be allowed to participate in the annual Club Fair.
Clubs at Caltech are expected to follow Institute policy, Student Affairs policies, and the Caltech Code of Conduct. Potential policy or Code of Conduct violations by a club or in connection with a club event will be referred to the assistant vice president for student affairs and residential experience (AVP) or their designee, will either (a) manage the issue with the club through an appropriate Institute response, or (b) initiate an investigation into the incident. If an investigation is conducted, the investigators will report their findings to the AVP who will make a decision concerning whether any violations occurred and any consequences that may be imposed. The decision of the AVP may be appealed to the vice president for student affairs within 10 days of the decision.
During the investigation, the AVP may suspend the club’s recognition and planned activities, if deemed necessary, for the health, safety, or other benefit of the community. A range of outcomes may be considered as consequences to the club if the group is found to have engaged in a policy violation. Possible sanctions examples include education, suspension of some or all of the group’s privileges, or loss of their recognition status with the Institute. If the potential situation also includes a potential policy violation involving an individual student(s), the student(s) will be referred to the appropriate Dean’s office and may be subject to disciplinary action.
Caltech Center for Inclusion & Diversity (CCID)
The Caltech Center for Inclusion & Diversity (CCID) mission is to provide education, advocacy, and allyship in order to increase institutional and personal capacity for diversity and ensure a community committed to equity and inclusive excellence. We create and implement campus-wide initiatives and programs that will increase the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for all members of the Caltech community to thrive in a diverse world.
Awareness and Education. We are committed to building the capacity for cultural competencies, skills, and action by designing workshops and trainings appropriate for all constituents on campus. We value consistent assessment and formative feedback to facilitate sustainable and lasting change.
Advocacy through Collaboration. We actively engage with the Caltech community to promote and provide access to information and resources that help achieve our academic and personal goals. The CCID provides programs and services to meet the specific needs of racially underrepresented groups, women, all sexual and gender identities (LGBTQ+), underserved, and ally communities on campus.
Allyship. We create spaces and skill-building opportunities for all members of the community to engage with issues related to their multiple identities. We provide resources and promote an environment that is supportive for all.
If you are interested in getting involved with CCID, please check the center website: diversity.caltech.edu.
The Caltech Y is a student-driven nonprofit organization on campus. Founded by students for students, the Y challenges the Caltech community to see the world with a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of social issues. Y programs focused on community service and activism, outdoor adventures, social activities, and cultural events encourage students to become active participants in the world. With the help of Y staff, student leaders plan and lead events, trips, and initiatives on campus and beyond. Some of the many Y programs include the Rise tutoring program, the Y hike in the California Sierras, Alternative Spring Break, Make-a-Difference Day, World Fest, the Student Activism Speaker Series, and the D.C. Science Policy Trip. The Y also provides services to the Caltech community, such as low-cost audio visual and camping equipment rentals, discounted tickets, and much more. For more information about student planning meetings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at caltechy.org. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/caltechy and Instagram at instagram.com/caltechy.
Caltech has a quiet room for prayer, mediation, quiet reflection and religious observation. The quiet room is located in the Hameetman Student Center. For information about religious clubs, see the Student Clubs website at ore.caltech.edu.
If you have a dietary restriction that requires a special request, please contact Caltech Dining Services at email@example.com. If your restriction rises to the level of a disability, please visit the Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) website at cass.caltech.edu to request accommodation.
Registration for Student Sponsored Events
Student events, including parties, activities, and programs that are hosted by a house or residence, are a privilege at Caltech and are part of the social framework of the Institute, but must be conducted in a safe and legally compliant manner. We expect the student body to follow laws, polices, guidelines for events, use common sense, and good judgement. All events all events must be registered; for additional information and to complete your Student Event Registration online, visit spa.caltech.edu.
Student Auxiliary Services
The Student Auxiliary Services, Gift & Technology Store (caltechstore.caltech.edu) is located on the first floor of the Hameetman Center. Established in the 2018–2019 academic year with a lead gift from The Hameetman Foundation, the Hameetman Center (formerly the Winnett Student Center) is now renamed in the Foundation’s and Fred Hameetman (BS ’62) and his wife, Joyce’s honor. Owned and operated by the Institute, the store serves the students, faculty, and staff, carrying a stock of Caltech authors’ books, insignia merchandise, gift items, school supplies, computer hardware, and accessories that support Caltech’s educational and research mission. Also located on the first floor of the Hameetman Center is the redesigned Red Door Marketplace that offers freshly brewed coffee and tea, full menu, and bakery items.