Tackling the great divide: How to navigate North and South campuses


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

For underclassmen, social life can be dependent on the side of campus on which they live.

Gwen Setia, Reporter

For many students, coming to Northwestern means finding new communities. Some of these may be identity-based, while others are related to hobbies, passions and academic interests. At NU, where students are required to live in on-campus housing for their first two years, communities also form around student housing — specifically, the side of campus where you live. Whether you’re living in Sargent Hall or in North Mid-Quads, this guide is here to help you navigate all things North vs. South. 

What are North and South campuses?

 Although it’s only a 20-minute walk from end to end of campus, the communities on either side, known as North Campus and South Campus, each have a unique feel. 

North Campus is usually considered to contain all residence halls in the North and Northeast Areas: 2307 Sheridan Road, 2313 Sheridan Road, 2335 Sheridan Road, 2347 Sheridan Road, 2349 Sheridan Road, Ayers College of Commerce and Industry, Bobb Hall, Cultural and Community Studies Residential College, Elder Hall, Goodrich House, Green House, Kemper Hall, Lindgren House, McCulloch Hall, Sargent, Schapiro Hall and Slivka Residential College. Fraternity housing is also located North. Because of its proximity to Ryan Fieldhouse and STEM buildings like the Technological Institute and Ford Center, it is also common for student-athletes and STEM students to choose North Campus housing. Many students consider North Campus to be the more social side of campus.

South Campus is considered to include housing in the South and Southwest Areas: 1838 Chicago Ave., 1856 Orrington Ave., 636 Emerson St., 640 Emerson St., 710 Emerson St., 720 Emerson St., Allison Hall,  Chapin Hall, Communications Residential College/East Fairchild, Foster-Walker Complex (Plex), Hobart House, International Studies Residential College/West Fairchild Jones Hall, Public Affairs Residential College/North Mid-Quads, Rogers House,  Shepard Hall, Shepard Residential College/South Mid-Quads and Willard Residential College. The sorority quad and music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia are also on South Campus. South Campus housing is close to many theatre, music and journalism buildings, and it has a reputation for having a more creative, artistic student population. South Campus is also the home of most residential colleges, so many students involved in those live South.

Students on North and South also tend to patronize different businesses in Evanston. North Campus students often visit businesses on Noyes Street, including D&D Finer Foods, Soban Korea and Tomate Fresh Kitchen, while South Campus students frequent businesses in downtown Evanston, including Happy Lemon, Colectivo Coffee, Whole Foods Market and Target. It’s not uncommon for a North Campus student to need directions getting to the Davis Street CTA Station or for a South Campus student to be completely lost when trying to locate Coffee Lab & Roasters

Why does the North-South divide exist?

In general, people tend to form connections with the peers they see most frequently. Students living on the same side of campus are likely to see each other in dining halls, common areas and at social events.This means initial friend groups often form within residential areas. When you factor in the physical distance between North and South (and how long that distance can sometimes feel during the Evanston winter), some students say cross-campus friendships can prove hard to maintain or engage. 

If all this information has you nervous, don’t worry — students also find community in other ways on campus, and most students have a variety of friends from each side of campus. Chances are, you will make friends from both North and South by talking to other students in your classes, joining student organizations and staying open to meeting new people.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @GwenSetia

Related Stories:

North vs. South campus: the great debate

Brewbike launches two 24-hour, automated cold brew dispensers

Prospective student tours venture to North Campus