Balch Hall FAQs

Q. What is the layout of Balch Hall?
Balch is a Victorian style building and is divided into two sides by an arch, a landmark on the Cornell Campus. The sides are called North and South and each side is divided into two units. A unit is basically a cluster of 20-30 rooms, and Units 1 and 2 are on the North Side and Units 3 and 4 are on the South. The building hosts six floors with four units each, except for sixth floor which only has one unit on each side. There are two laundry rooms, one in the basement of each side. Each unit has a community kitchen with a fridge and microwave for the residents to use. There is a freight elevator on each side, but please note that the elevator only goes up to the fifth floor.

Q. How do I know where my room is in the building?
Balch Hall can get a little confusing with its many hallways, units and sides. When you are assigned your room number, the first digit is the floor, the second is the unit, and the remaining is the room number. So if your room assignment is, for example, 3124, you are on the 3rd floor, unit 1, and room 24.

Q. What does a typical room look like?
Balch Hall has a combination of singles, doubles and triples, however, each room is distinctive. A standard room has a bed, a dresser, desk, chair, desk-lamp and a closet. A unique feature of Balch Hall are its "sink rooms" which is an alcove with a sink either in a room or in-between two rooms shared by the occupants of those two rooms. More often than not, your "sink mate" becomes your first friend here at Cornell! Just a note, not all rooms have sink rooms or a sink inside the room.

Q. Can I get a tour of Balch Hall?
Unfortunately, we do not provide tours because of safety concerns. During the academic year, the rooms are occupied by students and during the summer, rooms are occupied by high school students who take part in summer college. The best way to get a sense of the residence halls is through the YouTube tours. A sample of what Balch looks like can be viewed in this video: Cornell Virtual Tour-Balch Hall.

Q. How many people share one bathroom?
Because each hallway in Balch is unique, it's difficult to come up with an actual number but there is more than enough bathroom stalls and showers for residents to share.

Q. Is there a curfew?
There is no curfew, however there are quiet hours and courtesy hours. Quiet hours are 11 pm-8 am Sun-Thurs and 1 am-10 am Fri.-Sat. and you are required to keep noises at the quietest level. All other times are courtesy hours, meaning that you are welcome to keep your door open, play music etc. as long as it's not disruptive to others. Remember, we are all sharing the space and are one community.

Q. Are male guests allowed in Balch?
Yes! All guests are allowed in Balch and they are allowed to stay overnight, as long as they are accompanied by you at all times, including being in common areas, going to the bathroom, and/or being in your room. You are responsible for your guest's behavior. Also, guests should always be cleared with your roommate(s).

Q. Are there gender neutral bathrooms?
There is at least one gender-neutral bathroom in each unit. You, along with your RA, will decide which of the bathrooms in the unit will be all-female, and which one will be gender neutral at the very first community meeting that is held on the day you move in.

Q. How many lounges are there in Balch?
There are four main lounges with a piano in each lounge, and separate study spaces adjacent to some of the lounges. It will be indicated on the door whether it is a "quiet study space" or a social room. Quiet and courtesy hours apply to lounge spaces as well.

Q. What kind of events are hosted in the building?
Lots of different kinds! We have hosted everything, from outdoor movie nights, to self-care programs, indoor rock climbing, Broadway trips, educational programs centered around empowering women, celebration of the Lunar new year, Diwali etc. We also have a standing weekly program on Thursday nights called Tastee Treat, where there is a different late-night snack every week, we have faculty who hosts events, and we will often sponsor tickets to popular on-campus events such as Vagina Monologues, Pao Bhangra, the Annual Fashion Show and so on!

Q. Where is the nearest dining hall?
Balch is one of the most accessible buildings on North Campus in terms of proximity to everything. There are two bus stops, one on the front and one on the South side. The nearest dining hall is Risley Dining, just across from Balch. North Star Dining room in Appel Commons is only a three-minute walk away, and the Marketplace Eatery and Bear Necessities Grill is only a five-minute walk away in the Robert Purcell Community Center.

Q. How do we get mail?
Balch residents can collect their mail and packages at the Appel Service Center, a two-minute walk from Balch Hall. All mail should be addressed in the following way:

Mailing Address
STUDENT NAME
ROOM NUMBER Balch Hall
Cornell University (optional)
Ithaca, NY 14853

Every time you get a package or a piece of mail, you will receive an email notification to go and pick it up.