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, attend House Dinners and Wednesday evening conversation hours, and serve as a resource for new Transfer students.

A Bethe House Active citizen is a student 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. 

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.

Why become an Active Citizen?

As a Bethe Active Citizen, you are able to:

  • Play an active role in creating an engaging, curious, and connected community in Bethe in collaboration with House Leadership.
  • Gain experience in planning, leading, and executing small and large-scale events in the House
  • Have access to a robust House budget to bring creative ideas to life.
  • Advocate for the greater Bethe House Community to House Leadership
  • Receive a Certificate of Excellence for each year of participation and Leadership Honor Cords in addition to House Cords for graduation.

Active Citizen Expectations

  • All Active Citizens must commit to three semesters of engagement starting in the Spring semester following AC selection.
    • Semesters of participation: Spring ‘24, Fall ‘24, and Spring ‘25
  • 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.
    • Join the Bethe Testers OR Attend at least three sessions each of Bethe Ansatz (Fall) and Socially Just Leadership Development (Spring).
      • The Bethe Testers form sub-committees identified by the members that spearhead different engagement and advocacy initiatives in the House.
      • A recurring sub-committee is the Dining Advisory Committee who are Bethe-Testers who work collaboratively with the Bethe Dining Team and the HAD to plan House Dinner themes and provide ongoing feedback to the dining team.
    • 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/Optional Ways to Engage in the House:
    • Participate in Active Citizens retreat at the beginning of each semester.
    • Participate in the leadership cohort of the Community Engaged Group Leadership Certification program with the Einhorn Center.
    • 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 on your floor (we identify floor as Bethe-North, Bethe-South, and Bethe-McFaddin).
    • 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 loss of planning and budget privileges.

Application Process

Active Citizens are selected via an online application process that begins in mid-November. 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 in 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 the upcoming academic year are eligible to apply.

Application Timeline:

11/10/23: Applications are live

11/13/23-11/17/23: Info Session

12/4/23: Applications Due

By 12/13/23: Selected Active Citizens are notified