Section III of The Third-Century Plan

Creating a campus culture of community, ritual, and pride, reflected in residential life, campus programs, and athletics.

Colgate must overtly and explicitly seek to create a deep, clear, and compelling campus culture — nurtured and expressed through its residential programs, its athletic program and other student activities, its ceremonies and traditions, and through the overall experience of the campus. The campus culture must foster bonds among members of the community and connect, in a meaningful and sustained way, students, faculty, and staff to the institution itself. 

As a primary driver in this effort, Colgate must develop long-term programs to enhance the quality of student housing and the overall quality of student life. Further, Colgate should ensure that all students belong to the University and that they share this institutional bond while they are also developing those more individual social bonds that sustain them.

1. Residential Education

Long-Term Goals and Vision: A Colgate education means all students live the liberal arts, connecting their Colgate education to where they live. To fulfill this vision, Colgate must complete the implementation of the Residential Commons system and develop a comprehensive upper-level residential system that optimizes and enhances the variety of housing options for students in their junior and senior years.


A. The Residential Commons System

The way students live at Colgate shapes their education and their experiences. It begins with first- and second-year students living within one of four Residential Commons, led by faculty and staff directors, where the integration of living and learning expands. The vision for the Colgate Residential Commons system is also grounded in the desire for every student to have a strong foundational community from the first day, a place where they experience tradition and build class unity, and where University affinity is cultivated. The key elements of the Residential Commons system are:

  1. Each first-year student, upon entering Colgate, is affiliated with a Residential Commons. This commons membership is grounded in the desire for every student to have a strong foundational community from the first day, a place where they can experience tradition, benefit from class unity, and build University affinity.
  2. Students live within their Residential Commons for the first and second years, while later maintaining their affiliation as upper-level students through the Broad Street social house affiliated with their commons. Programming occurs in the Residential Commons “up the hill” and within the social house “down the hill” for all members of the commons.
  3. First-year students are housed with the classmates of their first-year seminar (FSEM) and many FSEMs are taught in classrooms located within the Residential Commons.
  4. Each Residential Commons is led by faculty and/or staff directors with the involvement of residential fellows, faculty and staff affiliates, and the Office of Residential Life.
  5. Extensive academic, intellectual, social, cultural, and co-curricular activities involving faculty, staff, and students will occur within each Residential Commons.

B. The Upper-Level Residential System

Colgate’s residential education begins with its Residential Commons system, and continues “down the hill” for junior and senior students. Upper-level housing options along Broad Street, the College Street apartments, and within the Townhouses allow juniors and seniors to move into increasingly independent living options. The intergenerational connection between the first and second two years of a student’s experience is forged with the Broad Street social houses affiliated with each of the four Residential Commons as well as with the Broad Street Interest Houses. Both the social houses of the Residential Commons and the Broad Street Interest Houses invite students from all four class years to take part in a variety of social, intellectual, artistic, academic, and extracurricular activities. 

Broad Street Renewal: The University’s 17 houses along Broad Street, stretching from Asia House on the southern end to the chapter house for Kappa Kappa Gamma on the north, form communities comprising junior and senior students. Today, these residence halls provide housing for 477 students with 199,000 square feet of space and were built between 1845 and 1968. 

While each of these communities expresses their shared interests and nature of their community differently, they operate under a common set of rules, guidelines, and community expectations. Each building includes social spaces of varying sizes, and house between 12 and 49 students. Over the decades, including following the University’s purchase of the fraternity and sorority chapter houses in the early 2000s, many of the Broad Street houses have received minor cosmetic updates.

As the University enters its third century, each of the Broad Street houses needs extensive remodeling. A comprehensive conditions assessment was completed in 2006 in preparation for a major University investment. Ranging from minor renovations to significant changes, Colgate should mirror “down the hill” the investments it has made to the first- and second-year housing inventory “up the hill.” 

This program should consider study space needs, social spaces, and parking as well as the infusion of other elements such as studio spaces, art-making, and other media throughout the Broad Street neighborhood. Many of the Broad Street houses include historic features worth preserving during renovations in order to maintain their unique character and this part of the University’s history and should be considered during the design portion of each renovation. The resultant Broad Street inventory, when considered as one upper-level residential community rather than as 17 individual houses, ought to yield student housing where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

College Street Apartments and Townhouses: The College Street apartments, made up of Newell and Parker apartments and University Courts, provide junior and senior students with suite-style housing. Newell apartments provide housing for three students (in one double and one single room); each University Court apartment provides housing for four students (in two double rooms); and each Parker apartment houses six students (in three double rooms). In the summer of 2018, the University invested $3.1 million to make modest, mostly cosmetic, renovations to flooring, exterior painting, window treatments, and new furniture. To address the remaining deferred maintenance within these 18 buildings, kitchen and bathroom replacements, the replacements of windows, heating elements, insulation, and interior painting must be done.

The renovation of the College Street apartments should take place concurrently with the Broad Street renewal project. By renovating a proportionate number of College Street apartments each year at the same time as Broad Street houses, the University will emerge at the end of the multiyear residential renewal project having renovated all housing for juniors and seniors.

The Townhouses: Built in the early 2000s and currently housing 212 students in eight-person and 16-person suites (double rooms), the Townhouses offer a more independent style of living as students move down the hill. Students living here are joined with their friends to share a large living area and one or two spacious kitchens depending on the size of the townhouse. 

The Townhouses provide the University with the requisite swing space for the upper-level housing renewal. Without this temporary housing, such a renewal would not be possible without reducing temporarily the number of admitted students or providing fewer students with University-owned housing. The Townhouses make possible a Broad Street and College Street renewal over several years.

C. Improved or New Dining and Social Space

A vibrant residential experience is predicated on a strong social experience. Social opportunities, especially in the form of parties, should be safe, open, and attractive to all students. Desirable social spaces should be available in a variety of residential spaces, including fraternities and sororities and interest communities. Thankfully, a reinvestment in the residential inventory will largely address the social spaces within these communities. There will still be, however, a need to create two to three larger social spaces (between 200–350 capacity) in order to hold events and programs that cannot appropriately be held within our residence halls. 

As the University considers dining as part of its Third-Century Plan, and the possibility of a renewal of existing dining halls, a renovation might also create a social space if designed in ways that allow it to serve both functions. The design might accommodate study space and/or lounge space for students to socialize between classes. In addition, in order to maximize the residential experience for upper-level students, Colgate might consider an upper-level dining plan that leverages regular contact among students of various communities, class years, and residence halls. Such a plan would allow students to see one another outside of class regardless of where they live or the communities with which they have affiliated. Upper-level students might study in an upper-level dining hall, meet as student organizations, and come together during the weekend for brunches and pre-social dinners.

First Initiatives

  • Complete Implementation of Residential Commons System
  • Beginning of the Long-term Renovation of Broad Street Houses
  • Renovation of University-owned Apartments and Townhouses

Developing Initiatives

  • Broad Street Neighborhood Renewal
  • Planning for Renovation and Expansion of Dining Facilities
  • Planning for Creation of New Student Social Spaces
  • Long-Term: Replacement of Gatehouse and 113 Broad Street and the Creation of a Fifth Residential Commons

Related Initiatives (described elsewhere in the plan)

2. Student Wellness

Long-Term Goals and Vision: The health and wellness of Colgate students requires an integrated model that ties together Student Health Services; Counseling and Psychological Services; Shaw Wellness Institute; Chaplain’s Office; Division of Physical Education, Recreation and Outdoor Education; and numerous other campus and community partners.

Paralleling national trends, Colgate continues to experience increases in student demand for health, wellness, and counseling services. During the last decade, college and university campuses nationwide have experienced increases in utilization of mental health services, disproportionately higher than the growth in student enrollment. Student use of Colgate’s Counseling and Psychological Services (C&PS) mirror these national trends. In 2011–12, C&PS provided services for 18 percent of the student body. During the most recent academic year, C&PS worked with 23 percent of Colgate students; the highest percent recorded in more than 15 years.

In addition, increasing numbers of students arrive to the University needing assistance and support to manage serious physical health conditions like asthma, severe allergies, ADHD, eating disorders, addiction, autism spectrum disorders, and other mental and physical conditions. Complicating matters, a growing number of these health issues are beyond the scope and ability of any single campus unit to address, creating the need for greater coordination among multiple University service providers. 

Conant House, currently occupied by Counseling and Psychological Services, is in need of significant renovation. The last renovation of the building was nearly 20 years ago and since that time, the number of staff members has exceeded available office space. Recently, some counseling staff members have been using neighboring space in the basement of a residence hall to meet student appointment needs. Similarly, the current modular office spaces that house Student Health Services no longer meet the needs of providing contemporary college student health care. Both of the buildings housing these critical student services will need significant renovations within the next five years.

A new Center for Integrated Health & Wellness, comprising Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Shaw Wellness Institute, would provide holistic student support by centralizing University wellness services; promote enhanced collaboration among service providers; provide for multidisciplinary treatment teams; and facilitate improved coordination of care for students. 

In addition to the coordinated, holistic care that would be provided by an integrated wellness center, each of these offices would benefit accordingly:

  • Student Health Services: improved patient privacy, updated health care equipment, additional exam rooms, a walk-in triage clinic, a treatment room for minor procedures, an updated laboratory, a modern nursing station, enhanced space for immunizations, men’s and women’s health, travel consultations, sexual health services, and improved ambulance access.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: enhanced space for individual therapy, psychiatric services, dedicated group therapy rooms, light therapy, and a biofeedback room.
  • The Shaw Wellness Institute: substance abuse counseling, dietitian services, treatment of eating disorders, as well as proactive wellness features such as a demonstration kitchen for healthy eating seminars and cooking classes, space for student interns to prepare and conduct campus wellness workshops, a drop-in student lounge, spaces for indoor and outdoor meditation, and a resource library.

The Center for Integrated Health & Wellness at Colgate would reflect the important connection between individual well-being, a healthy campus environment, and overall student success. Such a center will not only permit the University to appropriately address the escalating health needs of today’s college students, but will also position Colgate to be a leader in integrated wellness by ensuring all students are able to participate fully in their education.

First Initiatives

Counseling Center Accreditation

Developing Initiatives

Programmatic Plan for Integrated Health and Wellness 

Related Initiatives (described elsewhere in the plan)

3. Colgate’s Division I Athletics Program

Long-Term Goals and Vision: The vision of the Division of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA) is to be an inclusive community of competitive excellence that brings together a diverse group of people who care about each other, who share common goals, who actively invest in the success of the group, and who strive to consistently perform at the upper range of their potential with an aim to win.

To pursue this vision, PERA must expand its view of what is possible for its commitment and collective efforts to support programs at a level that is commensurate with its aspirations. The future of Colgate athletics embraces and amplifies what is best about its past, builds upon its strengths, and stretches it into new challenges and possibilities. To achieve the vision requires alignment with the campus community, clarity about the challenges and limitations, and strategic short-term objectives and long-term initiatives.

Academic excellence combined with athletic excellence is one of Colgate’s most distinctive strengths. As one of the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions, Colgate attracts incredibly bright student-athletes and graduates them at among the best rates in the country (97.4 percent in 2018). Combined with committed staff and coaches; supportive faculty across campus; loyal and engaged alumni; improving athletic facilities and operating budgets; and the safe, tight-knit community of Hamilton, Colgate athletics is replete with strengths upon which to build. Indeed, Colgate’s proud traditions fuel its bold ambitions to achieve even greater levels of excellence in PERA. 

The Athletics Plan for the Third Century has the following goals:

  1. Recruit: Attract the most talented and motivated students and student-athletes possible who are committed to excelling in academics, athletics, and in their career and personal development;
  2. Build: Design, build, and maintain physical spaces on the Colgate campus that inspire and undergird the pursuit of league championships and national tournament appearances among our varsity student-athletes, and that set the stage for the vigorous pursuit of health, wellness, and connection among all our students; and
  3. Support: Provide the personnel and operational program support necessary for optimal development, performance, and experience of all Colgate students.

These goals will be achieved through three plans:

  1. Facilities: In response to a review of current PERA facilities and programming needs, a facilities plan projects future facilities and programming needs, defines a set of facility renovation and development priorities, and proposes a phased approach to facilities projects.
  2. Financial Aid and Scholarships: Current institutional policies and guidelines are examined and clarified as they relate to need-based financial aid, athletics financial aid (scholarships), admissions slots, medical non-counter student-athletes, international student-athlete admissions, and the Patriot League Academic Index. Recommendations are proposed for adjustments that are aligned with institutional expectations for academic and competitive success.
  3. Finance and Resource Development: Following an external review of current budgeting and financial management practices, a plan is developed to support the achievement of inspirational aspirations for varsity academic and competitive success.

First Initiatives


  • Reid Renovation
  • Athletics Health & Performance Center
  • Basketball/Volleyball Arena
  • Cotterell Practice Courts

Admission, Scholarships, and Financial Aid:

  • Increase Athletics Scholarships for Emphasized Sports
  • Added Admission Slots

Developing Initiatives


  • Huntington Recreations Center
  • On-Campus Softball Venue
  • Lineberry Renovation & Expansion
  • Rowing Training Center
  • New Indoor Turf and Tennis Facility
  • Outdoor Fields Upgrades

Finances & Fundraising Plan

Related Initiatives (described elsewhere in the plan)

  • Attracting and Retaining Outstanding Students
  • Student Wellness
  • Middle Campus Plan for Arts, Creativity, and Innovation