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First-Year Themed Housing Communities

In the fall, each first-year student resident will join a Themed Housing Community. Themed Housing Communities provide students a way to explore the campus and the greater Bay Area through topics that most interest them. Students will create lasting friendships and have new experiences that expand what they are learning in the classroom.

When completing the online housing application process (details available here) please indicate your interest and rank your preference among the choices offered. Mills College makes an effort to place every student in the community of their choice, but please note that only a limited number of students can be accommodated in each Themed Housing Community.

Themed Housing Communities


This community brings together students interested in art and art history. If you enjoy working in the studio, visiting museums and galleries, or studying the history of art, the Art Themed Housing Community will appeal to you. Activities may include Oakland’s monthly “Art Murmur” street party and art festival, museum visits, special exhibitions, local gallery walks, films, and other exciting events that will enhance your understanding of both the history of art and the contemporary art scene in the San Francisco Bay Area.


This community will provide a space for first-year student athletes and others who share an interest in athletics or Cyclone spirit to come together. The Cyclone Themed Housing Community will foster a culture of health, academic excellence, and Mills pride. This community will provide a living space with extended quiet hours, from 10:00 pm to 8:00 am, conducive to early morning practices and a healthy lifestyle. Possible activities may include attending local sporting events (e.g., UC Berkeley or Mills College athletic contests), wellness workshops, guest speakers from on-campus resources, and Cyclone Spirit Week.

Social Justice 

In this Themed Housing Community, we'll learn together how we can each make the world a better place. We will investigate issues of gender identity, disability rights, racial justice, queer inclusion and more. Students will learn together by participating in the many events on campus and in the Bay Area that are designed to challenge power, make a statement, and pursue a just society. Learn about social protest, policy advocacy, and education as tools for social justice work. We'll learn how to make our OWN change and inspire hope for a better world.


This community is an excellent starting point for students considering majoring in any of the scientific disciplines. It will provide an opportunity to live and work with a cohort of students who are enthusiastic about science and intend to major in the biological, chemical, or environmental sciences or students on the nursing track at Mills College. It provides an opportunity for students to support one another academically and connect with others who have similar academic and career interests.  

Educational Inequality and Innovation

Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own educational journeys in relation to larger patterns of inequality. Students in this community will learn how the Mills School of Education is working for social justice in local urban schools. Students in this community may attend events sponsored by the Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships that highlight activism and innovative approaches to working with young people including hip-hop pedagogy, transgender inclusion initiatives, and new strategies for connecting immigrant parents and schools.


Students in this themed community will bring together their creativity for crafting. Join the thriving East Bay crafting and DIY culture! There will be opportunities to visit local makers fairs and craft shows. Share your crafts with others and learn skills from peers.  Whether it is knitting, sewing, collaging, beading, or carving wood, this could be the community for you.  


This community brings together residents interested in exploring their ideals, assumptions, and awareness regarding the production of food. Students will have the opportunity to develop community leadership skills in promoting energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, and local food connections. There are many opportunities on campus to be involved with sustainability and this theme community will be leading the way.  Events may include participation in Creek Care Days, Power Down Days, and RecycleMania.  Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in Mills College’s urban farm and learn sustainable farming practices. Guided by sustainable principles, we will plant seeds that will grow into produce and herbs, support a worm compost bin program to provide nutrients to our soil, pull weeds, water, and harvest once per semester in order to cook a communal meal.

Bay Area Exploration

Why did the New York Times list Oakland as one of the most fun cities to visit? Find out about all the exciting activities in Oakland by joining this community. Did you come to Mills because it was in a city?  Are you not from a city but would love to learn about Oakland and the greater Bay Area?  In this themed community, students will explore Oakland, San Francisco, and the Bay Area utilizing their AC Transit bus cards.  Students will learn about the history of the area as they explore thriving and diverse areas like, Chinatown,  Lake Merritt in Oakland, the Redwood parks of the Oakland hills, Dolores Park in San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of Art, and other hidden gems of the Bay Area.

Socially Responsible Business Leadership

Do you want to make a statement as an entrepreneur? Do you want to lead an organization? Learn why Oakland is the epicenter for social entrepreneurship and explore the possibilities for leadership in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. Attend cutting edge events at the Mills Center for Socially Responsible Business and explore the Oakland Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Community members will develop leadership skills and have fun together in the process.

Hip-Hop and Spoken Word

The City of Oakland is best known for its love of culture and politics, and where do those things come together? Hip-hop! Share your passion for hip-hop culture and spoken word by joining this community of students committed to understanding inequality through hip-hop dance, music, visual arts, and spoken word. Explore the thriving hip-hop scene in the Bay area and learn how hip-hop and social activism come together in Oak-town!

Performing Arts

Mills has launched a wonderful new partnership with the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) of San Francisco and we continue to build on our highly acclaimed dance and music programs. Do you want to share your interests in dance, music, and theater with other Mills students and get an insider’s view into the performing arts at Mills and in the Bay Area? Join this community and make your first year at Mills filled with exciting performances that will inspire you for years to come.

Creative Writing and English

Do you love to write? Can you name more favorite books than TV shows? Join the Creative Writing and English Themed Community to meet like-minded writers and creative souls. This themed community will explore the vibrant writers’ scene at Mills College and in the Bay Area. Participate in the Contemporary Writers Series to meet world-renowned writers in our own Mills Hall. Students in this community will work together to publish poems or essays in the many Mills student publications. Write on!

World Languages and Global Affairs

Are you interested in the politics, popular culture, and history of other countries? Are you eager to learn what the Bay Area has to offer those interested in the world beyond American borders? Are you hoping to study abroad? Do you enjoy learning other languages.  This community seeks to broaden students’ knowledge of the world’s diverse politics, cultures, and histories, as well as pressing global issues, and show them the opportunities for international awareness that Mills and the Bay Area offer.  By examining different cultures, languages and customs, students will be exposed to a more transnational view of the world and to the idea of global citizenship. Activities could include cultural events, museum visits, film viewings, concerts as well as information sessions about study abroad and different international focused majors and minors at Mills.


Living at Mills

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Themed Housing Communities


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Residential Life



Contact Information

Housing Management & Dining Services (HMDS)
Sage Hall, Room 138

P: 510.430.2127
F: 510.430.2155
Last Updated: 3/18/15