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, houses and apartments will close promptly at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, December 16.

Beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 16 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.

The residence halls will reopen for all students at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 9. Please make your travel plans accordingly. 

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. Select students working with a sponsoring department (for example resident assistant staff or select in-season winter sport student-athletes) may stay later or arrive earlier than the official residence hall closing/opening dates. In each of these cases, the supervising department will notify you that you are approved, and 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 by Noon on Monday, December 6. Requests made after December 6 will not be considered for approval unless they are related to inclement weather (see below).  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).

Students who stay past the official residence hall closing but who do not have approval will be charged an hourly late-stay fee and may be referred to the student conduct process.

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 finals end, students may wish to leave immediately after their final 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.

Dining Services and meal plan information

The last meal served in the Hilltop Café will be dinner on Wednesday, December 15. Breakfast take-out will be available at that dinner service for any individuals wanting breakfast for Thursday morning. The dining room will reopen with the brunch service on Sunday, January 9.

Zamora's Market will close at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15 and will reopen at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 9.

Flex dollars that come with the 14 meal plan option, or that you've added to your card will carry over between fall and spring semester. Visit the Dining Services website for updates and menu information.

Student meal plans will carry over from the first to the second semester.  Refer to the 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.
  • Empty, unplug, defrost and dry out personal refrigerators at least a couple days prior to leaving (otherwise you'll come back to a smelly mess)
  • Unplug all electrical equipment including 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 does not 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 single or double occupancy room or more than two refrigerators in a triple or quad occupancy room.

For a complete list of prohibited items, please refer to the policies for residential students.

Repair work

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 the 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 be assessed 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 that bed space. Rooms will be inspected for roommate readiness on December 16.  Failure to leave your room roommate ready will result in an additional cleaning fee being assessed to your student account should a staff member have to move items prior to the new roommate's arrival.  You may also be referred to the student conduct process.

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.

Parking updates

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 these 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.