Union Theological Seminary Student Life

Student Affairs

Housing FAQ

Here are some basic questions and answers regarding housing.  The online Student Handbook page will go into greater detail about policies and procedures for living on campus. If you are choosing to live off campus, the online Off Campus Housing Guide will be a helpful resource.

Can I get a floor plan for my on-campus room/apartment?

Unfortunately, we do not have floor plans for individual rooms/apartments. There is information on average square footage available from the housing office; however, this is just to give you a general idea of the average size of the rooms/apartments, and does not account for the many variations in the residence halls.

What if I have my own furniture?

When you receive your housing assignment from the housing office, you will notice that one of the forms to be returned has an area to choose what Seminary-provided furniture you will need in your room. If you have got everything already, housing will leave your room unfurnished. If you decide after arriving that you would prefer your own bed, desk, etc, you can just contact facilities, and they will remove the Seminary furniture for you.

Will my room have air and heat?

Hastings Hall has central air conditioning. McGiffert Hall apartments require window units for A/C. Window A/C units are not allowed in McGiffert dorm rooms, due to possible electrical shortages. Some McGiffert apartments already have A/C units; others may not, and you will need to purchase one upon arrival. Both Hastings and McGiffert are heated.

Is on-campus housing guaranteed if I am a full-time student?

No, housing is NOT guaranteed. It is important to submit a housing application and appropriate materials as soon as possible; the Seminary makes every effort to accommodate all Union students who apply for housing.

Can I have a pet in my dorm room or apartment?

Pets are not permitted in the dormitory rooms of Hastings Hall, or the 1st floor south and 2nd floor dormitory rooms of McGiffert Hall. Pets are also not permitted in public areas, in the Seminary quadrangle, or on the McGiffert roof.

Pets are permitted in certain apartments in McGiffert Hall, provided they do not create problems for other residents and the owners assume responsibility for cleaning up any accidents that may occur in the public areas of a Seminary building or grounds and for the safety of other residents.

Please see the housing booklet for more information about keeping pets on campus.

Are there elevators for move-in?

Yes, both McGiffert and Hastings are equipped with elevators. Large bins and dollies will be provided for move-in.

Can I sign up for a meal plan?

Union does not have a meal plan, but Union students may sign up for a Columbia University meal plan. However, Columbia's dining services may not be suitable in terms of pricing and their location off Union' s campus. For this reason Students can buy a light breakfast (coffee, bagels, fruit, sandwiches) weekdays in the Pit, and lunch in the Refectory. Once a week is community lunch day, in which students receive a discount on lunch.

What banks are near campus?

Union is located near a number of banking facilities. Citibank is the official banking provider of Columbia, and there are ATMs near Union on the Columbia and Barnard campuses. There are also branches of Citibank, Chase, Banco Popular, and others nearby. The ATM at Barnard & Columbia does not charge a fee for cash withdrawals from non-Citibank accounts (though your own bank may charge for using an ATM outside their system). A Chase ATM is located at The Interchurch Center (also known as The God Box) on Claremont Avenue, which is around the corner from Union. The Center’s exact address is 475 Riverside Drive. Chase ATMs are also located in Duane Reade stores throughout the city. Many of these banks also offer special deals for students. Visit them to find out what they offer.

Will I have Internet access on campus?

There is a 24-hour computer lab with a printer on campus available for student use. Union also has free wireless Internet access available in most of McGiffert and Hastings Halls, in the Pit, classrooms, and other parts of campus. Some students opt to arrange for DSL connections for their rooms.

Does Union have gym membership?

Union students (and spouses/partners/children) are eligible to use the athletic facilities at Dodge Fitness Center at Columbia, though there are also other gyms nearby which some students prefer. You can sign up for the gym after you receive your UTS/Columbia ID card at orientation.

Will I have health coverage?

Union students are eligible to participate in the health insurance program offered through Columbia University. All full-time students and those living in Union housing must pay the health services fee, which provides access to primary care, laboratory, and psychological counseling at Columbia Health Services, located on the Columbia campus. Full-time students are also required to choose one of two health insurance plans offered through Columbia, Basic or Comprehensive, or provide evidence of equivalent coverage. To read more about health insurance coverage, please visit “Student Health” section.

Where can I park my car?

Street parking in New York is limited. For those living in Union housing full time, having a car is not recommended. Some students arrange to leave their cars with family or friends who live outside New York. If you do decide to park your car in the vicinity of the campus, you may find it useful to check the 2012-2013 Alternate Side Parking Rules. Also, to avoid unnecessary parking tickets, you may subscribe to receive morning email updates on whether New York City's daily alternate side street parking is in effect. There is metered parking on Broadway or one of the side streets nearby, but those spots tend to fill up as soon as the street sweeper goes by in the morning. To learn more about parking, please visit “Map & Directions” section.

Where can I walk my pet?

Riverside Park, which runs along the edge of Manhattan, is 2 blocks and 2 minutes away from Union. Riverside Park is a great place to go for running, walking, recreation (there are basketball & tennis courts), and for taking your dog for walks. Dogs can run off-leash from 9 PM until 9 AM in both Riverside and Central Parks; beware that the parks department issues tickets for dogs that are off-leash after 9 AM.  Morningside Park is a few blocks East of Union and has a dog run. Riverside Park has a dog run at 105th and Riverside.

Where are some helpful places around the city?

Here are some of the things we enjoy in New York or may help make your move easier...

Target – It is right off of the 225th St. Stop on the Bronx Bound 1 train.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond – Locations throughout the city, including Broadway and 65th St. and on Sixth Ave. between 18th and 19th Streets. Both of these are close to the 1 train.

Ikea – While this Ikea is in New Jersey, there is a weekend shuttle that will take you round trip from the Port Authority (take the 1 train to 42nd Street/Times Square). Lines to board the bus might be long, but they go quick!

Jack's World – A store for the thrifty shopper, you will find groceries, housewares, cosmetics, electronics, appliances and most things in between. Take the 1 train to 34th Street/Penn Station; entrances are located on both 31st and 32nd street.

Kmart – There is an entrance from both 34th Street and inside Penn Station and other locations throughout the city.

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