This is our Frequently Asked Questions page, where we publish answers to questions frequently posed by prospective residents and new students. If you have a question not listed here, feel free to contact us and ask!

First, questions about PARC and the surrounding community:

What is a Residential College?

A Residential College is a living community that seeks to combine living and learning.  It is your dorm, and everything else you could ever want.  

How is PARC unique?

We have a lot of unique opportunities related to our theme of public affairs. Every week we have Cookies & Conversation in the basement to discuss current events. In addition to that, our fellows give Firesides and offer research opportunities available only for PARCers. We also have access to unique classes called tutorials, which are taught by PARC’s amazing fellows.

How easy is it to get to the dining hall?

It is unbelievably easy to get to the dining halls from PARC. We’re located within 5 minutes of three dining halls – Willard, Plex and Allison, which is widely regarded as one of the best – if not the best – dining hall on campus!

How social are people? Are they locked in their rooms all the time?

People are very social in PARC. You are bound to find someone in the TV lounge watching the news or sports during the day, and a movie almost every night! In addition, the suite style floors make it very easy to hang out with your fellow PARCers, as you walk through the suites you are likely to find people playing board games, studying, talking, or eating. On the other hand, when it’s time to buckle down, PARC is a great place to study, and get rest: it never gets too rowdy and people are generally very considerate of the others they live with.

What are the advantages to living on south campus?

There are infinite advantages to living on south campus! We are close to Evanston, which means tons of eating options, shopping, El and Metra Stations, and CVS. We are also close to Norris, many humanities classes, the library, Blomquist Gym, lots of dining halls, campus shuttle stops and Lake Michigan. Our location also means it is easy to get to North Campus relatively quickly.

What sort of people live here?

One of the great things about PARC is that, despite being a themed residential college, we typically draw residents from all walks of campus life. Engineers live side by side with music majors and football players can be seen watching movies with political science or history majors. We also typically have a number of residents without a declared major. The diversity of interests at PARC – we regularly have residents from each of the six undergraduate schools – allow us to most effectively reach our goal of exposing residents to new ideas about what public affairs means to them.

Is there Internet access?

Yes!  All of the rooms in PARC, including common areas, have wireless Internet.  It is also recommended to bring an Ethernet cable because every room has Ethernet ports as well.

Is there a laundry room?  Do I need to bring quarters?

Yes! We have three washing machines and three dryers (although to be sustainable we encourage residents to use drying racks if possible). The machines are free to use! For more information on the facilities in PARC, see our Facilities Page.

How big are the rooms?

Room dimensions vary from room to room. Corner rooms generally have more space, and some single rooms are actually the size of ordinary double rooms. To see the layout of the rooms and their different sizes, refer to our Facilities Page.

Do you have questions about moving into PARC? We’ll answer them below.

What should I bring to PARC?

These are the items that you should bring to PARC when you move in:

  • Extra-long twin bed sheets, pillows, pillowcases, comforter.

  • Towels

  • Toiletries

  • USB flash drive

  • Headphones

  • Laundry bag/hamper, drying rack, detergent, stain remover

  • Raincoat, umbrella

  • Shower sandals

  • Cell phone charger

  • Non-halogen desk lamp or other bright light for reading

  • Poster adhesive, removable hooks

  • Portable fan (window or free-standing)

  • Shower caddy

  • Reed diffusers, deodorizers, air fresheners

  • Alarm clock

  • Power strip electrical adapter

  • Iron

  • Dry-erase board, markers

  • Photo ID, driver’s license, state ID card, passport (If you plan to work on or off campus, you will need a Social Security Card, birth certificate, or US passport.)

Health related items that you should plan to bring to PARC:

  • Information: insurance and pharmacy cards; physicians’ name, address, telephone number; emergency telephone numbers; prescription refills, including glasses prescription

  • Current prescription medications, in their original containers

  • Over-the-counter medicines for pain relief, allergies, colds, flu, etc.

  • Glasses, contact lenses, cleaning solutions, extra lenses, cases

  • Skin care products such as soaps, lotions, sun block, aloe, acne ointment, antibacterial/antibiotic ointment, petroleum jelly, etc.

  • Extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss

  • Band-Aids, gauze, adhesive tape, “Ace” bandage

  • Other personal hygiene items (deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, etc.)

  • Ice pack/hot pack

  • Thermometer (digital or electronic)

  • Flashlight with extra batteries

Go Green! with the following:

  • Mini-fridges, laptops, TVs, DVD players, and other electronics: Look for Energy Star products or EPEAT certification products. Before you buy new, see if you can share with roommates.

  • Printer: No need to buy a printer; you can print at the library when necessary.

  • Lighting: Desk lighting is one of the most efficient ways to light your space when you’re working. Consider an LED or CFL bulb for your desk lights. These last longer and are more energy efficient.

  • Irons: You would be surprised how many irons and ironing boards we find in the move-out donation boxes at the end of the year! Before purchasing these items, check if you can borrow them from your roommate(s) or friends.

  • Sheets and towels: Consider organic cotton and other materials (e.g., bamboo fiber), which eliminate pesticides and herbicides, making it better for your health and the environment.

  • Clothes drying rack: Save money, energy, and have your clothes last longer!

  • Furniture: Higher-quality and durable furniture can be donated and reused; low-quality, particleboard-based furniture usually ends up in a landfill.

  • Bottled water: Why waste $1.50 each time you’re thirsty? Evanston has great tap water, so bring a reusable bottle or cup and fill from the tap or bring a water filter.

  • Reusable items: Reusable water bottles, mugs, shopping bags, and food containers are a convenient and less wasteful option than single-use materials.

What shouldn’t I bring to PARC?

The following items are prohibited by Northwestern University’s safety rules and regulations:

  • Microwaves (including microwave and refrigerator combination units)

  • Heating or cooking appliances (hot pots, toaster ovens, coffee makers, etc.)

  • Refrigerators with interiors larger than 3.1 cubic feet

  • Cooking knives with blades longer than 3 inches

  • Hanging blankets, tapestries, rugs, etc.

  • Lighted candles, holiday lights, and incense

  • Fireworks, explosives, incendiaries, firearms, and other similar items

  • Air conditioning units

  • Waterbeds

  • Lofts or loft-like risers (Many of our beds are adjustable.)

  • Cinder blocks, wooden platforms, and any other sort of “bed riser”

  • Pets

When do residence halls and residential colleges open for 2016-2017?

Freshmen can move in starting at 8:00 am on Monday, September 12, 2016. Upperclass students can return beginning on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

Where can I find out information about Wildcat Welcome Week?

More information regarding Wildcat Welcome Week can be found on the New Student and Family Programs website.

I am participating in a Pre-Wildcat Welcome program. Can I move my belongings into my residence hall early and then participate in this program?

Northwestern does not have an early move-in option for students participating in these programs.

Please contact these programs directly to find out what arrangements have been made regarding what to do with your luggage and/or suggestions on what past participants have done while participating in these programs.

Can I move in early?

Select students who are deemed essential for the opening of the residence halls and residential colleges are permitted to check in early (specific information will be made available later). Students not in one of these approved groups will not be permitted to move in early.

How do I ship my belongings to campus?

If you’ll be living in University housing and intend to ship some of your belongings before you arrive, please refer to the information on the Ship to Northwestern webpage for the process, important dates, and other useful information to ensure a smooth experience.


Have more questions? Contact us here!