Winter Break Information
NOTE: This information is for current Cornell students; incoming new and transfer students starting spring semester should refer to information on spring opening for details concerning their arrival to campus.
The following information will help you prepare for winter break closing. More information will be added as it becomes available. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please contact our office.
Dates for closing and opening
All Cornell College residence halls and apartments will close promptly at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, December 21, 2017, and will not reopen until 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Please make your travel plans accordingly. Beginning at 11:00am on Thursday, December 21 residence hall access will be turned off and exterior door locks on campus-owned apartments and houses will be changed. Your exterior door key and/or ID card will not work during the winter break, except for those approved to stay in advance by the Office of Residence Life. For safety and security reasons, access to your room is not possible over the entire winter break. Students found trespassing in the residence halls during winter break will be subject to late stay charges and potential disciplinary action.
Late stay or early arrival requests
The Office of Residence Life occasionally gets requests for students wanting to stay later than the dates listed above in December or move in earlier than the dates listed above in January. Selected students working with a sponsoring department (for example resident assistant staff or select winter athletes) may stay later or arrive earlier. In each of these cases, the supervising department will cover all housing expenses for the student(s).
Students not with a sponsoring department should expect that the above dates reflect the schedule that they should follow. Staff members from housekeeping, facilities and residence life are preparing for the official closing and opening days and are unable to accommodate late stay or early arrival requests from individuals not with a sponsoring department. If extenuating circumstances exist that the student believes would warrant an exception, then the student should contact their appropriate assistant director. If an exception is made, the student would be charged a daily fee for housing expenses (all charges would be applied directly to the student's account).
Possibility of inclement weather
The weather in the days leading up to winter break can be unpredictable. Students are encouraged to monitor the weather and make their travel plans accordingly. Even though the residence halls close the day after exams end, students may wish to leave immediately after their final exams in order to allow more travel time. Students who can demonstrate an appropriate amount of pre-planning in making their travel arrangements but whose flights are canceled or are otherwise unable to leave as scheduled because of weather should contact Residence Life to explore their options.
Students who stay past the official residence hall closing but who do not have approval will be referred to the student conduct process.
Dining Services and meal plan information
The last meal in the Hilltop Café will be dinner on Wednesday, December 20, from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.; breakfast take-out will be available at dinner for any individuals wanting breakfast for Thursday morning. The dining room will reopen on Sunday, January 14. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5:00 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Zamora's Market will close at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20 and will reopen at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 14. Flex dollars that come with the 14 meal plan option carry over between fall and spring semester. Visit Dining Services website for updates and menu information.
Students can opt to change their meal plan for second semester. Refer to Dining Services website on selecting or changing a meal plan for details.
Preparing your room for break
It is important to take time to prepare your room for the break. Before you leave, please do the following:
- Check the laundry room for any laundry that is yours and bring it to your room (Housekeeping will be cleaning all of the laundry rooms over break and will donate or discard any clothes left in the laundry room)
- Clear items from the floor (especially electronics)
- Sweep the floor and dispose of all dust and debris in a trash can
- Remove all trash from your room and take it to a common area trash can in your building
- Empty, defrost and clean personal refrigerators located within your room, suite, apartment or house; prop the door open to avoid foul smells. College-owned appliances located within private living spaces such as suites, apartments and houses, should be emptied of perishable items that may expire over break, but may be left plugged in. College-owned appliances located within building common areas should be emptied of all items, but may be left plugged in. Medications which need to be refrigerated may be dropped off at the Health Center for safekeeping.
- Unplug all electrical equipment including refrigerators, computers, alarm clocks, telephones and answering machines (you may leave an aquarium plugged in, but you must clearly label the cord at the wall outlet)
- Close and lock all windows
- Close all blinds
- Turn off all lights
- Lock your door
As a reminder, the contents of student rooms are not covered by the College's insurance, and the College cannot assume responsibility for any loss of, or damage to, personal property. Check your renter's insurance or your family homeowner's policy for coverage.
Health and safety inspections
After the residence halls close, residence life staff will be working in pairs to perform simple safety checks of each room. Staff will be checking specifically for open windows (which could cause pipes to freeze), appliances that have not been unplugged (which could cause an electrical fire that could go unnoticed in an empty hall) and unlocked doors and windows (which could invite theft). Staff will document any policy violations in plain view. As a reminder, the following items are prohibited in residence hall rooms:
- Microwave ovens
- Pets (other than fish)
- More than one refrigerator in a double room
For a complete list of prohibited items, please refer to the policies for residential students.
During break periods (including official College holidays), Facility Services staff may be doing necessary maintenance, deep cleaning and/or renovations to common areas. At times, this work may require altering normal traffic flow (like periodically closing certain entrances or stairwells). At other times, this work may require entering student rooms. Every effort will be made to notify students in advance (through e-mails or through signs posted in the buildings). However, advanced notice may not be possible in every situation. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns.
Permanently vacating a room
If you are not returning to Cornell for second semester, you must completely vacate your room, have your RA inspect the condition of your room and return your key(s) before the halls close. If your room is not inventoried and you fail to turn in your keys, you will forfeit your right to appeal assessed damages and will be charged for a room key replacement (and, if applicable, for a hall entry key replacement) as well as a fine for improper checkout. Failure to comply with the request to vacate your room of personal items may result in fees for hauling and disposal of belongings. Students who are withdrawing from Cornell must complete the withdrawal process; contact Student Affairs for more details.
Students living in a room with an unassigned space (empty bed)
If you are in a room with an unassigned space, you must prepare your room before leaving for winter break for the possibility of a new roommate in January. All belongings must be moved to one half of the room to allow a new roommate to easily move into the space. If you are assigned a roommate over the break, you will be informed by the Residence Life Office prior to returning to campus (we will send an e-mail to your Cornell College e-mail address). We expect that all students on the floor will welcome our second semester new students as well as our current Cornell students returning from trips.
To help with maintenance and snow removal, certain parking lots are closed during winter break. For complete details, please refer to information on winter break parking, provided by Campus Safety. Also, as a reminder, there are five parking spaces in Lot O (directly in front of Olin Hall along MacGregor Lane) where parking is prohibited between December 1 and April 1 annually. Those spaces have signs indicating the parking restrictions. Refer to the Campus Safety website for a complete list of parking policies.
Getting to and from the airport
If you will be traveling and don't have a car, you can refer to a list of transportation suggestions compiled by the Thomas Commons Information Desk. There you will find the College's electronic need a ride board as well as information on commercial transportation opportunities.