Students who choose to live on campus will be asked to choose the type of living environment they wish to take part in. Themed Communities are unique environments in which groups of students share a common residential experience.

Many of the communities also share a common academic experience. Students in each area are housed together in designated villages and either take pre-determined classes together or engage in community involvement programming together.

Academic Communities

These communities help students create a link between their lives in the residential community and learning experiences in the classroom. An environment is created that is conducive to building a strong, cohesive peer support system that serves the students throughout their academic and professional careers. The Academic Communities are the Academic Career Exploration (ACE), Freshman Year Experience (FYE), and First-Gen living areas.

Academic and Career Exploration (ACE)

Academic and Career Exploration (ACE) is a program designed to provide students the opportunity to explore a major or field of interest.  ACE offers academically themed “houses,” linked to academic departments and programs, providing students the opportunity to live in a close-knit community with peers who have similar major or career interests. Utilizing the Freshman Learning Communities (FLC), together with a core transition and career decision-making year-long component, ACE intentionally creates a learning environment that recognizes how some of the most powerful learning in college takes place outside the classroom.

Freshman Year Experience (FYE)

Freshman Year Experience (UNIV150AB) is a yearlong course that fulfills two of the freshman General Education requirements: Critical Thinking (Area A3), and Comparative Perspectives (Area C3). The themes of the course are Self-Identity (Fall) and Global Identity (Spring). Students listen to weekly lectures, read essays and literature, and write, discuss, and make oral presentations on critical issues that college freshmen face as they become adults in today's world.


FIRST-GEN is one of the Academic Themed Community options available to freshman seeking on campus living. This community is particularly geared for students who are the first to attend college in their family and who seek an extra layer of support to ensure success during their first year of college.  FIRST-GEN is designed to maximize success at Sonoma State University by helping residents connect to each other, and creating a support system within the FIRST-GEN community.  FIRST-GEN is dedicated to facilitating the development of helpful relationships between residents and SSU faculty and staff, and through offering intentional academic and personal development programming that will help students make the most of their SSU experience.  

Themed Communities


Interest themed housing offers opportunities for students who share common interests a living environment in which their shared passions can be explored with others. Students have the opportunity to interact and build friendships with neighboring residents through year-long social and educational activities revolving around their building theme. The interest themed communities are the Academic Achievement, Adventure Living, Expressive Arts, Gender Inclusive, Global Engagement, Leadership and Service, and Wellness areas.

Academic Achievement

This community is for students excited and determined to achieve their educational goals! Research shows that academic engagement is critical to the development and retention of first year college students. The Academic Achievement community welcomes diverse majors and interests along with those of various past academic success levels. This community is designed specifically for incoming first-year students who are seeking a community where they will engage with like-minded roommates and neighbors who see their schoolwork as a major priority.

Adventure Living

This community is for students interested in exploring programs and activities around campus and throughout Sonoma County.  Sonoma County’s proximity to the ocean, mountains with great hiking and biking trails, and the greater Bay Area provide a great setting for exciting exploration. The Adventure Living Themed Community is available in the Verdot Village.

Expressive Arts

The Expressive Arts community is for students already immersed in or for those that want to learn more about different artistic expressions which include, but are not limited to visual art, performance art, and creative writing. As members of this community residents are encouraged to explore their artistic possibilities on the SSU campus by attending events at the Green Music Center and the greater Bay Area. All students, regardless of artistic background or major, are invited to take part in an engaging and vibrant community that explores the various mediums of the arts and their impact in society. The Expressive Arts Themed Community is available in Sauvignon Village.

Global Engagement

A space community for students that are passionate about cultural exchange, global experiences, and creating an environment focused around the appreciation of difference. This community would be ideal for those students interested in arts, humanities, or education-related fields, and/ or those students who have already or plan to in future study abroad. Examples of programs for this theme include cultural enrichment events, international travel information sessions, faculty presentations, community volunteer opportunities that take students into new environments, and career exploration. The Global Engagement Themed Community is available in Sauvignon Village.

Leadership & Service

Students must be actively engaged in their surroundings in order to learn and grow in college. The leadership and service community will provide students the opportunity to participate in leadership development, service-learning, and community outreach. Students who want to seek different leadership opportunities or want to expand their leadership experience and become a Student Leader at SSU should consider this learning environment.The Leadership and Service Themed Community is available in Sauvignon Village.


A space for students to connect with peers who are excited about lifelong health and well-being for all. This community would be ideal for those students interested in the health-related or social science fields, and/ or those students committed to a substance-free lifestyle. Examples of programs for this theme include exercise program partnerships with the rec center, outdoor activities, stress relief activities, healthy cooking demonstrations, community health and wellness volunteer opportunities, and science-related career exploration. The Wellness Themed Community is available in the Cabernet and Sauvignon Villages.

Transfer and Continuing Students

Sonoma has robust housing for transfer and continuing students in our Hillside area, comprised of Beaujolais and Tuscany Villages. These accommodations feature apartment-style living, with individual bathrooms within each bedroom, full kitchens, and spacious living rooms. 

Gender Inclusive Housing

Gender Inclusive housing is offered as an option for first year and/ or returning SSU students. Designations such as biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression are not used in making housing assignments for this theme housing.  The community is designed as an intentional living community affirming the cultural experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning residents as well as their allies. This is not a place for romantic couples to live together.

Transfer House

Transfer students starting at Sonoma State are unique in that they arrive as upperclass students with the experience of previously taking college courses, while having not gained the experience of campus life at Sonoma State.  As such, it is important to offer transfer students with programs and activities that are both academically-stimulating and career-minded, while focusing upon their transition to campus life at Sonoma State through social networking and exploration of campus resources. 


U-Engage stands for "Upperclass Student Engagement". The central theme and focus of this Living Learning Community is based around the needs of continuing students. Its focus is to promote and enhance our residents' familiarity with resources and outlets, while addressing the specific needs of continuing students such as career exploration, academic success, leadership, and individual development. These four core elements are known as the CALI Programming Model and are the central theme around all programming provided for our continuing students.