Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I reserve a space?

Groups that are interested in staying at Columbia University during the summer should complete a reservation form online outlining information about their organization as well as their housing and dining needs. Conference Staff will reach out to groups beginning in October to confirm space availability for the following summer.

Please visit our reservation link for more information and to fill out a form.           

Individuals who are attending a conference contracted through Columbia Conference Housing should contact their Conference Coordinator for information about registration. Unfortunately, we do not offer housing accommodations for individual guests that are not registered through a contracted conference group.


When can I check-in and check-out of my room? Can I check in early? Can I get an extension to stay later?

Unless explicitly mentioned in the contract, our standard check-in time is 3 p.m. on the day of check-in. Location of check-in is communicated at least two weeks prior to the group’s arrival. Our standard check out is 11 a.m. the day of check out. Late check-outs will result in an additional night's fee. Extensions are not allowed unless outlined in the contract. Our conference office is available for luggage storage between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If needed, overnight luggage storage is not available. If you have specific questions, please reach out to your conference coordinator or you can call our Conference Service Desk at 212-854-0365 or email us at conferencehousing@columbia.edu.

Additional Information for Groups:

All early check-ins and late check-outs must be requested during the contract stage. Please note that additional fees may apply. 

Additional Information for Individuals:

We recommend individuals to visit off-campus housing accommodations who are in need of housing beyond their check-out date.


What if I’m checking in or get locked out after the office closes? 

During the summer, we have an after-hours number that you may use to contact our office to check-in after 9 p.m. or if you are locked out. The number is 646-300-3463, and one of our staff members will be able to assist you.

Additional Information for Groups:

Conference groups with guests under the age of 18 will be responsible for signing out a master key and for conducting lockouts.


The dates of my stay have changed and I would like a refund for the days that I paid and am no longer staying. Can I get one?

Information for Individuals:

Cancellation deadlines and fees are outlined within the housing application. Upon payment, refunds can only be granted based on the set cancellation policy.

Information for Groups:

Refunds can only be granted based on the cancellation and refund policy outlined within the group’s contract. Conference coordinators who have any additional questions or concerns should contact their designated Conference Housing contact for further assistance.


Will I be sharing a bathroom with someone?

Yes, guests should expect to share a bathroom with other guest(s) unless the conference group or individual paid for a private full suite. 


Can I bring my pet?

Pets are not allowed within the residence halls unless approved through Disability Services. Should a guest need an animal for health reasons, please contact Disability Services by phone: (212) 854-2388 or by email and cc' conferencehousing@columbia.edu at least 90 days before the group's arrival. 


Can I have people stay with me in my room or come inside the building?

For security purposes, no additional guests are allowed in Columbia Housing Residence Halls. Before you can enter our building, you must present the guard working at the front desk your guest pass to enter. It’s our goal to ensure a safe environment for everyone who stays with us. Due to that fact, we are unable to allow any guests of conference attendees into our buildings. If you have any questions about this policy please feel free to email Conference Housing.


What do I do if I’ve lost my guest pass or room key?

If you’ve lost your guest pass or room key, you will need to visit the Conference Service Desk to make payment and receive a new one. Unless otherwise instructed by the conference, the individual will be held responsible for any lost guest passes or keys.

Additional Information for Individuals:

Without your guest pass you will be unable to enter any of our buildings for security reasons. If your guest pass also works as your room key you will be unable to enter into your room until that is replaced. If you have a hard key for your room (your guest pass does not work as your room key), then we will need to replace the key and re-encode your door for security measures.


My room/linens are not getting taken care of. How do I make sure I get new ones?

Linen service is only provided for conference groups who requested and paid for the service in advance. Unfortunately, we are not able to add the service on for individuals that are part of a group. If linen service is provided for your group and your towels were not changed, please verify that all of your personal items have been removed from the bed. Our linen staff does not move or touch any guests’ personal items.

*Please contact our office if you continue to experience any issues.


Where do I take out my trash and recyclables?

Depending on the building, there is either a trash chute on each floor or a garbage and recycling room located in the basement. In all of our halls, residents are responsible for their room trash. Any common area trash and recyclables will be taken by Facilities once a week.


I need a hairdryer, ironing board, etc. How can I get one?

The conference desk has all of these amenities available at no cost. The conference staff will just need to log it in our system. Guests will be financially responsible for any unreturned items.


Where can I make a phone call if I don’t have a cell phone?

There are University phones available for public use on each floor (in most of our residence halls). To make a call, you can dial any university extension at no charge or purchase a calling card.


Where am I allowed to smoke or drink?

Smoking is prohibited in the residence halls, including assigned rooms. Due to the safety and health risks, along with corresponding state laws and University policy, residents who choose to smoke must do so at one of the 14 designated campus smoking areas. View map for designated areas. Furthermore, marketing, advertising, sampling, sales, or other distribution of tobacco products in or within 20 feet of an undergraduate housing property is prohibited. Smoking devices including, but not limited to, hookahs and water pipes, other pipes, and vaporizers are prohibited in all undergraduate housing properties and surrounding areas. Alcohol may not be possessed, stored, or consumed by any person under the age of 21. Only conference guests over the age of 21 are allowed to consume alcohol in their contractually assigned room. Alcohol may not be possessed, stored or consumed in the common lounges, hallways, elevators, or public space of any residence hall.


What do I do in case of a fire alarm?

Fire alarms are tested monthly at scheduled times that are posted in each building. All alarms (regardless if it is a test) should be considered authentic fire alerts requiring immediate evacuation. Failure to evacuate will result in removal from the program without a refund. It is a violation of New York State Law to tamper with or engage in the improper use of firefighting, detection, and/or alarm equipment. The removal of or tampering with smoke detectors is prohibited.


What do I do if I’m leaving before the office opens. How do I check out?

There is an express check-out box that is placed in the lobby every night. All guests should place their guest passes and keys into the provided envelope, with their full name and room number, seal it, and then place it in the box. You may not leave your guest passes and/or key with the guard stationed at the front of the building. Failure to check out properly will result in a charge equal to the amount of a lost hard key or guest pass.


What do I do if I leave something in my room after I check out?

Conference Housing is not responsible for any lost or stolen items left unattended after your departure.

In the event that you are still in the area, our staff can escort you to your room to retrieve your belongings. If you are not in the area and your item is found, you can send conference housing a self-addressed and pre-paid envelope for our office to mail back your item. Please be aware that we are unable to purchase any additional shipping items, boxes or anything else. We suggest reaching out to our Conference Service Desk before sending anything to us so our staff can walk you through the process.


What if I have a maintenance issue in my room?

In the event of a maintenance issue, conference guests may contact the Conference Desk by phone: 212-854-0365 or by email: conferencehousing@columbia.edu to submit a work order while we work diligently to have the issue resolved as soon as possible. Please be advised that non-emergency requests may take approximately 60 days to be completed during the summer season.


Where is the best place to hail a cab?

We recommend walking to Broadway Avenue or Amsterdam Avenue to hail a cab.


Can I do my laundry on campus?

Yes, laundry facilities are available to guests and are located in the basement of most residence halls. Please feel free to contact our office if you are unsure where the laundry facility is located in your building. Washer and dryer cycles are free.


What if I have leftover money on my Flex card when I leave?

Unfortunately we aren’t able to refund you for any extra funds left on your Flex card. However, you may use your Flex card to spend any leftover money at one of our vending machines on campus or at one of accepted Flex locations in the Morningside Heights area. You may return flex cards upon check-out.