Active Citizen Application Overview

Active Citizen Application Overview

Bethe Active Citizens Overview

Who are Active Citizens (ACs)?

Bethe House Active citizens are returning Bethe residents who add to the community through informal engagement and as fun neighbors. They host events, participate in ongoing initiatives, lead Bethe Testers (formerly House Council), attend House Dinners and Ansatz, and serve as a resource for new Transfer students.

Being selected as a Bethe House Active Citizen carries two distinctions. First, a student is formally recognized by the selection committee as a current Bethe resident who has demonstrated a notably high level of participation or leadership, and/or who holds tremendous potential for future participation in Bethe House, and this recognition comes with the responsibility and privilege of actively contributing to the ongoing success of Bethe House.  Second, every resident chosen as a Bethe House Active Citizen is guaranteed housing in Bethe for the following academic year.

Why are there Active Citizens?

Active Citizens help the Bethe leadership team reach the primary goal of the West Campus House System at Cornell University: the creation of an environment that closely links the residential life of the students to the intellectual mission of the university. To achieve this goal, Bethe House emphasizes informal interaction with faculty and staff members from across the University, self-governance, and social and cultural programming. In these ways, Bethe House builds an actively engaged community of upper-class students – one that fosters personal discovery and growth, encourages civic engagement, and nurtures scholarship and creativity in an environment of collegiality, civility, and responsible stewardship. For all these reasons, Bethe House has a vested interest in celebrating and retaining active house members.


Active Citizen Expectations

  • All Active Citizens must commit to three semesters of engagement starting in the Spring semester following AC selection.
  • Required Activities:
    • Host at least one study-break per semester. New Active citizens are not required to host a study-break in their first spring semester as an AC.
    • Participate in at least one service project organized by the House during their three semesters as an AC.
    • Join the Bethe Testers OR Attend at least three sessions each of Bethe Ansatz (Fall) and Socially Just Leadership Development (Spring).
    • Participate in New Transfer student reception at the beginning of each semester (travel and academic obligations will be considered as acceptable reasons for missing these events).
  • Additional Ways to Engage in the House:
    • Participate in Active Citizens retreat at the beginning of each semester.
    • Attend House events such as House Dinners, Spa Nights, programs, etc. hosted by GRFs, URFS, and other ACs.
    • Maintain a relationship with the GRF and URF you are paired with at the beginning of the year.
    • Informally connect with your neighbors and serve as a resource for new transfer students.
    • Provide feedback and work with House Leadership to continuously develop and move the community forward.
    • Participate in Info Sessions to recruit future ACs.

Failure to meet required expectations could result in not being selected as an Active Citizen for the following year, and/or needing to make up missed activities by taking on additional responsibilities in the House.


Application Process

Active Citizens are selected via an online application process that begins in mid-October. The application asks for basic information, and optional resume, and two essay questions focused on what motivates someone to apply for the position and what they hope to achieve if they are selected. Applicants are also asked to submit a photo of their favorite location in Bethe.

An application selection committee led the House Assistant Dean and comprised of Graduate and Undergraduate Resident Fellows, and Senior Active Citizens read applications and make recommendations to the House Professor-Dean for final selection.

Up to 40 ACs will be selected each year. Selected ACs are notified early December.



All current Bethe residents with an active housing license for the academic year are eligible. Selected ACs are expected to start engaging in the following Spring. Current Active Citizens must reapply if they wish to continue in the role the following academic year.

**Residents planning on studying abroad or participating in another Cornell Affiliated program in Spring of the current academic year, are eligible to apply. If they are planning to study abroad in the Fall, they are welcome to apply but their first choice of room is not guaranteed when they return in the Spring.


Continued Occupancy

Active Citizens are guaranteed a bed in Bethe for the upcoming academic year. Once selected, they will be asked to provide their top 5 preferences, and will be assigned a room before the Room Selection process happens for other Bethe residents.

ACs can block with up to two current Bethe residents if they want to live with/near their friends in a hallway single or double. If ACs want to live in a suite they must block with at least one other AC. Example: A 5-person suite can have 2 Active Citizens and 3 other Bethe residents who are not ACs. You can also be in a suite with new Transfer students by working with the House Assistant Dean ahead of time.

Blocking is not required unless ACs want to live in a suite. Bethe residents/ACs cannot block with non-Bethe residents/ACs.