The focus of student life at Bard College, both inside and outside the classroom, is on campus. From its historic Hudson Valley setting to its state-of-the-art science and arts facilities, the College offers an idyllic environment where students can enjoy a rich social life interwoven with their cultural and intellectual pursuits. Bard provides students with a wide range of activities and opportunities to engage in challenging and rewarding ways with peers, the community, and the world at large. It also provides a support system of advisers, tutors, counselors, and related programs to help students successfully negotiate their undergraduate experience.
Bard Houses, a faculty in residence program, provides students with support, intellectual and social connections, and the opportunity to meet with faculty outside of the classroom from the moment they arrive at Bard. All entering students are assigned to one of four “houses” (communities, rather than buildings), each named for a distinguished alumnus/a or friend of the College and led by house professors who organize events—within and across communities—that emphasize informal interactions in faculty homes and in common meeting spaces around campus.
Most students live on campus in a variety of residence halls—from gothic to eco-friendly, quiet to women only—that are within easy walking or biking distance of all academic, social, and recreational resources. Many facilities are clustered at the center of the campus, including classrooms and libraries; science and computer labs; art studios and music practice rooms; the gymnasium and athletic fields; Kline Commons, with its student and faculty dining halls; and Bertelsmann Campus Center, which has a movie theater, post office, café, bookstore, and meeting, exhibition, and event spaces.
Undergraduates share the campus with the students and faculty of several affiliated institutes, research centers, and graduate schools. These centers present lectures, concerts, exhibitions, panel discussions, and conferences that are open to the entire Bard community; some welcome undergraduate assistance with research and events.
The campus encompasses nearly 1,000 acres of fields, orchards, and forested land on the east shore of the Hudson River. In 2016, the College acquired Montgomery Place, an adjacent historic estate that has walking trails, gardens, and scenic river views in addition to a Federal-style mansion, a farm, and some 20 smaller buildings. Plans to integrate the campuses and utilize Montgomery Place facilities are well under way.
The nearby communities of Tivoli, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Hyde Park, Hudson, and Woodstock offer historic sites, such as the Franklin D. Roosevelt estate, music and other cultural venues, art galleries, eclectic food and shopping options, and parks for bicycling, hiking, and kayaking. Additionally, New York City is 90 miles away and easily accessed by public transportation. Many classes take advantage of the opportunity to visit museums, studios, theatrical productions, and concert halls. The cultural traffic between Bard and New York flows both ways: world-class writers, artists, and musicians based in the city frequently come to campus to do what they do best for the benefit of the College and broader community.