Throwing a dorm party is no easy feat—it’s an art. From the ambience to the playlist, everything requires preparation. If you’re planning on throwing a party in your Columbia dorm room, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done all the dirty work and have determined the best tips and tricks for planning a party in five different Columbia and Barnard dorms: a John Jay single, a McBain double, an East Campus suite, a Brooks quad, and a 600s suite.
John Jay single
Max capacity: Seven people (16 square feet per person estimate)
Vibe: A chill night with ‘the boys’
Having a single has its perks, but it definitely isn’t the ideal place to throw a party. That being said, you can make it happen, but it’s just going to take a bit more effort. Most importantly, you’re going to have to limit your invite list to about seven people—John Jay rooms aren’t particularly spacious.
Ideal setup:Set up drinks on the desk—there should be enough room for drinks for 15 people Set up a small dance area in the center Optimize space: Utilize your closet (no matter how small it may be) for packing all of the unnecessary things lying around your room to maximize floor space ALTERNATIVE: You could also take the mattress off of your bed and turn the dance floor into a beer pong arena
Max capacity: 15 people (16 square feet per person estimate)
Vibe: Trashy ‘n’ Splashy (but not quite as bad as EC)
Though you may have a horrendous view of that infamous shaft, McBain doubles are actually decent spots for a good dorm party. They’re very spacious, so you’ll definitely have enough space for dancing and hanging out.
Ideal setup:Use one of the desks as a bar Use the other desk as a makeshift beer pong table—not the most ideal setup, but we have to work with what we have Set up the dance floor in the center of the room Arrange a photo wall for your guests to take photos in front of—it’s the perfect way to commemorate trashy college nights If you’re up for it, plan the party around a specific theme—costume, Gatsby, anything you’re feeling. There’s plenty of room for added decor!
Max capacity: 18 people (16 square feet per person estimate)
Vibe: Sweaty and sticky
It’s safe to assume that most people have found themselves at an EC party at some point in their Columbia careers, and there’s a reason for that: EC suites are absolutely huge, with lots of space for people to spread out, mingle, and dance to unintelligible trap music.
When throwing a party in an EC suite, keep things contained to the kitchen and living areas, where there’s the most room and some of the best city views on campus. In terms of the technicalities of throwing a suite party, EC resident Benjamin Fechter, CC ’18, remarks that “it would be great if your suitemates were willing to sign people up in—it gets tricky with GS and Barnard.”
Ideal setup:Keep drinks in the kitchen (use the counter as a bar) Use the actual table (!) for playing beer pong Store coats on the couch or in the bedrooms Set up a dance floor in the main living area Set up a sound system (fake your own DJ booth with a laptop, decent speakers, and some fancy lights) Create a photo wall by the entrance Hit up your EC neighbors and bring several other tables in for a massive multi-table beer pong tournament
Max capacity: 25 people (16 square feet per person)
Vibe: Girls just want to have fun
Spotify Playlist: Girls Literally Yell Every Time You Play These Songs
Sure, Barnard doesn’t really have “party dorms,” but that doesn’t mean parties can’t happen. Most of the quads in Brooks have a surprising amount of space, since they are split up into three different rooms. Hope Johnson, BC ’21, suggests that you “keep the common room the fun room. … But if you want it to be really amazing, get the people in the quad next to you to coordinate one big party so people can flow in and out.”
When planning your Brooks party and tailoring your guest list, keep in mind the inconvenient sign in process Barnard has—you’ll have to come down to sign each of your guests out.
Ideal setup:Use the four desks in the common room for drinks Convert the common room into a dance floor Use the side bedrooms for relaxing Hang up some string lights to give the room a nice ambient glow Perfect that classic “girls’ night” party feel with a bit of makeshift karaoke if you’re down for it (early 2000s throwback, anyone?)
Max capacity: 55 (16 square feet per person estimate)
Vibe: As classy as a dorm party can get
While it can be fun to get a bit (okay, very) raunchy from time to time, it’s also nice to have classier parties every now and again. Think: wine and cheese, ambient music, and not a red solo cup in sight. The 600s are the perfect place to throw a swanky dorm party. The suites are absolutely massive, so there will be plenty of room to dance, socialize, and eat fancy snacks.
For planning any sort of party in a 600s suite, Barnard student and 600s resident Emily Miller, BC ’19, suggests that you ask guests who also live in the building to bring their chairs to make up for the lack of available seating.
Ideal setup:Use the beds for optimum coat storage Keep the drinks confined to the kitchen space Set up a wine and cheese platter in a common space Set up a dance floor in the largest bedroom Reserve the other bedroom as a chill space for relaxing and talking Hang up some string fairy lights to give the party a chiller vibe There’s plenty of room in the kitchen to set up a special station for custom made mixed drinks If you’re feeling extremely classy, get some musically inclined friends to play live music—maybe some piano or sax