First-Year Residential Learning Communities

Updated: Nov. 7, 2024

When students apply for housing, they request to be part of a Residential Learning Community (RLC), rather than a specific building.

Some students are automatically placed in an RLC by their campus program, such as Cal Poly Scholars, EOP and TRIO. 

2023-24 Residential Learning Community Locations

There are many factors that impact the final location of RLCs, among them, enrollment, the number of approved exemptions, and preferences for specific room types. Below are the RLCs for the 2023-24 academic year.

tsɨtkawayu Floors 1-3: Culture & Identity, Floor 3: Huerta-Lewis Social Justice, Floor 4: Pride
elewexe Cal Poly Scholars
tšɨłkukunɨtš Floor 1: Cal Poly Scholars, Floors 2-4: EOP, Floor 5: TRIO
tiłhini: Cal Poly Scholars
tsɨtqawɨ COSAM
nipumuʔ Floor 1: Cal Poly Scholars, Floors 2-3: Honors
tsɨtpxatu COSAM
Sierra Madre Hall

Towers 1-4


Towers 0, 5 Cal Poly Scholars
Yosemite Hall
Towers 0-9 CAFES
South Mountain Halls(Red Bricks)
Fremont CAED
Santa Lucia CENG
Sequoia Floor 1: Leadership; Floors 1-3: Substance free
Tenaya OCOB
Trinity Floor 1: CENG, Floors 2-3: OCOB
North Mountain Halls
Diablo CENG
Lassen CENG
Shasta CENG


Palomar CENG


Open to all first-year students; 8-Week fall Coursework Required

In collaboration with the Center for Leadership, this residential learning community fosters socially responsible leadership development through events and initiatives that are innovative and educational. All members of this community must complete the not-for-credit Emerging Leadership Certificate together during Fall Quarter. More information for this program is online at:


Huerta-Lewis social justice
Required for students in the ETHNIC STUDIES MAJOR; Roommates do not have to Be part of the program. Open to all first-year students; Range of required for-credit academic coursES and co-curricular activities

The Huerta-Lewis Social Justice Residential Learning Community (SJRLC) is a unique opportunity for students to take an active role in creating positive social change at Cal Poly and beyond. In partnership with University Housing, the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion (OUDI), Cal Poly Ethnic Studies, and Student Diversity and Belonging this community offers a dynamic environment for students to develop their leadership skills while putting Cal Poly’s "learn by doing" philosophy into action.  

The Huerta-Lewis SJRLC welcomes students who are passionate about social justice and equity, with priority given to Ethnic Studies undergraduate students. In this residential community, students will participate in a range of required for-credit academic courses and co-curricular activities designed to provide a holistic understanding of social justice and inclusive leadership. By engaging in these experiences, students will gain valuable knowledge and skills that they can apply in their future careers and communities. 


College-Based Communities
Open to all first-year students of all majors

Each college — College of Liberal Arts (CLA); College of Science and Math (COSAM); College of Engineering (CENG); College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science (CAFES); Orfalea College of Business (OCOB); and College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) — has its own Residential Learning Community. These six communities afford students the opportunity to live with others in their college or major, often sharing the same classes, while participating in activities that center around their academics, careers, and social interests.

CAL POLY Scholars
Required for students in the Cal Poly Scholars program. Roommates do not have to be part of the program.

An invitation-only program that provides a two-year residential experience for students from selected California high schools. The key goals of this program are to think critically and creatively, build respect for diversity and work collaboratively and to build scholarly expertise and lifelong learning. Cal Poly Scholars are required to reside on campus for their first two years at Cal Poly. The Year 1 Scholars Residential Learning Community is required for all first-year scholars unless they are in EOP or TRiO Achievers.  

Continuing scholars are required to reside on campus their second year and are encouraged to reside in the Year 2+ Scholar Residential Learning Community, but are allowed to reside in other RLCs the second year. 

Cal Poly Scholars participants and their requested roommate/s will select their rooms in the Cal Poly Scholars community. 


Cultural and Identity Scholars

Cultural and Identity Scholar Communities provide opportunities for underrepresented students on campus to create cultural, social and academic connections in their residential communities. We offer the following communities in the application: 

  • APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) Scholars  
  • Black Scholars  
  • Latine/x Scholars 
  • Native American and Indigenous Scholars 
  • SWANA (South West Asia + North Africa) Scholars 
  • Cross Cultural Scholars (for any POC/person of color to build community!) 

Communities will be formed based on student interest. If there is not enough interest in a specific cultural and identity learning community, students will be offered a space in the Cross Cultural Scholars Community. Regardless of Housing RLC, students are welcome to attend events provided by Student Diversity & Belonging.


Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
Required for all students in the EOP program. Roommates do not have to be part of the program.

EOP is an invitation-only program focused on helping improve the access, retention and graduation of students through encouraging success, community building and empowerment. EOP participants live with other members of the program in their own Learning Community, though they may invite non-EOP members to be their roommates.


Optional for students invited to be part of the Honors program. Roommates do not have to Be part of the program.

A community where members of Cal Poly’s Honors Program live together to seek challenges, participate in experiential and interdisciplinary learning, grow as individuals, and expand the boundaries of their academic potential. The Honors community observes extended quiet hours.


Pride Community

Pride is a learning community for LGBTQIA+ identified (including, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) students and those in solidarity. It specializes in strong community, leadership, and identity development and education on issues pertaining to sexual and gender diversity at Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo community.  This living option features Queer-affirming spaces, and students in this residential community are welcome to also attend programmatic offerings through the Pride Center available throughout the academic year.

Substance Free

The Substance Free community is for those committed to a living environment of wellness and having a great time without tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. Residents of the Substance Free community sign a Statement of Understanding and agree to live in an environment that is conscientious of the well-being of yourself and others by forgoing substances within the community.

TRIO Achievers
Required for students in the TRIO program. Roommates do not have to be part of TRIO.

TRIO is an invitation only program where members focus on the success, retention and graduation of students. In this learning community, there is academic advising, tutoring, and workshops — right in their residence hall. TRIO members are required to live in the TRIO community as part of their program but may invite non-TRIO members to be their roommates. 

Students in the TRIO program are required to live in campus housing for two years. 

Watch this video on TRIO Achievers to learn more. 


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