About Risley Residential College

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 of life and have a variety of interests and talents.

Please use the following links to find out more about our program!


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.

Community features:

  • Open to first-year, transfer, and upperlevel students
  • 194 residents
  • Located on North Campus, near Central Campus and Balch Hall
  • Packages and Mail are managed by 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, and a wastebasket Wireless Internet access.

Faculty involvement:

Professor Tom Hill, Professor Courtney Roby, and Professor Denise Green serve as Risley's Faculty Fellows.  

Program fee:

In addition to the room rate, Risley residents pay a program fee of $100/year to support the many activities and events that define the community.

How to apply for residency:

Application instructions and links can be found at Application Process: New Undergraduate Students and Application Process: Current Undergraduate Students.

Out-of-house membership information:  

Program Houses offer out-of-house memberships for Cornell community members who want to participate as non-residents. Apply to be an out-of-house member application here.


For more information about Risley, call (607) 255-9520 or email risley@cornell.edu.

For more information about Risley Theatre, visit http://www.risleytheatre.org/ or email RisleyTheatre@cornell.edu.