As a part of Connected Communities, new students are assigned to one of five Commons.

Each Commons is comprised of a single or adjacent residence hall(s) and serves as the foundation for students’ first-year community. Commons gather throughout the year for special events and speakers, compete in first-year intramural sports, host socials for Commons members, and form unique identities that facilitate the formation of a connected community within the larger Lafayette student community.

Each Commons assembles a council of interested residents under the advisement of an upper-level student Prefect and a Residence Life professional. Membership is open to all residents of the Commons.  Councils support the Commons by engaging residents in activities focused on building connections and promoting a Commons identity.  It is an opportunity for first-year students to have a leadership position starting in their first semester of college, which will help them develop valuable skills, and most importantly connect to their Commons.

Each Commons has a cohort of upper-level peer leaders to help new students navigate the first-year experience including Orientation Leaders, Resident Advisers, and ‘PARDners.’ The Commons’ names are derived from five ships on which the Marquis de Lafayette sailed to and from America in his efforts to support America’s goal of independence.

Here are the descriptions of those remarkable vessels.


In 1776, the 19 year-old Marquis de Lafayette purchased and outfitted La Victoire, a small merchant ship, in preparation for his voyage to America.  First-year residents of Watson Hall are members of the Victoire Commons.

Students belonging to Victoire Commons.


In 1779, the Marquis returned to France on furlough on board America’s newest and finest warship, the Alliance.  First-year residents of Ruef Hall and Easton Hall are members of the Alliance Commons.

Students belonging to Alliance Commons.


In 1780, Lafayette boarded the handsome new French frigate, l’Hermione, for the return trip to America.  First-year residents of McKeen Hall, Gates Hall, and 49 South College Drive are members of the Hermione Commons.

Students belonging to Hermione Commons.


In 1824, arriving in New York harbor to a riotous welcome on the packet Cadmus, the Marquis de Lafayette returned to America at the invitation of Congress for what became known as his “Farewell Tour of America.”  First-year residents of Conway House and Kamine Hall are members of the Cadmus Commons.

Students belonging to the Cadmus Commons.


In 1825, the newly-built frigate, the Brandywine, ordered by John Quincy Adams in honor of the Marquis for Lafayette, sailed down the Potomac for The Marquis’ final return voyage to France.  First-year residents of South College and Marquis Hall are members of the Brandywine Commons.

Students belonging to the Brandywine Commons.