Cornell Branch (CBTA)

Cornell Branch (CBTA)

2022 Housemembers on the Telluride House steps

Since 1910, the Telluride House (also known as the Cornell Branch) has provided full room and board scholarships to Cornell University students who live and study in this tight intellectual community. The Telluride House was originally home to the electrical engineers who had worked for L.L. Nunn and went on to attend Cornell. Today, it is home to a diverse group of Cornell scholars and faculty who are passionate about intellectual inquiry, democratic self-governance, and community living.

Learn more or apply at the CBTA website.

Life at the house

Housemembers include both undergraduates and graduates enrolled at Cornell University, studing a full range of disciplines including English, Linguistics, History, Government, Philosophy, Africana Studies, Development Sociology, City and Regional Planning, Labor Relations, Anthropology, Law, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Neurobiology, Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering. Members of Cornell faculty also live at the House.

This setting provides an unusually rich and intense academic experience. The House encourages this through formal programs such as a public speaking program, seminars led by members or guest professors, and faculty receptions. Much of the House’s special impact occurs informally in daily life. Students benefit from exposure to ideas from a wide range of disciplines, share in an atmosphere of rigorous intellectual exchange, and draw on each other for advice, support, and inspiration.

Discussion over the dinner table.


Whether through planned events or informal discussions over meals, life at Telluride House challenges members to explore ideas together and to think seriously about the pressing questions of our time—scientific and philosophical, social and political, literary and aesthetic. Telluride Association provides housemembers with a budget and facilities for academic seminars and House events.

Academic Fellowships

The Telluride Association also offers some academic and service scholarships to housemembers, ranging from small cash stipends to graduate fellowships at Cornell and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Public Speaking Program

All members of Telluride House participate in a public speaking program that allows them to share their interests with other members as well as improve their oratorical skills. The format of public speaking events is at the House’s discretion, from formal hour-long presentations once a year to shorter and more extemporaneous public speaking throughout the year.

AcAff, or "Academic Affair" at CBTA.


Democratic Governance

Telluride House is governed democratically by its residents. Housemembers enjoy tremendous autonomy, controlling the day-to-day operation of their community and determining the goals and focus of life in Telluride House. This power of self-government is a unique and central facet of the House. The goal of Telluride Association is to grant the House sufficient freedom to make its experiment in self-governance significant. The House meets weekly in housemeeting to make all major decisions in a democratic forum.

Practical Responsibility

In keeping with the Telluride tradition of encouraging self-government and personal responsibility, students are given the opportunity to develop themselves in practical ways that are not often available to young people, such as hiring and supervising House employees, assuring the upkeep of the building by planning necessary maintenance and renovations, and negotiating with contractors to see that the work is completed. These responsibilities are shared by housemembers, partly through a system of committees and officers.

Faculty Guests

Each year, housemembers recruit and select a small number of Cornell faculty to live with them at Telluride House. Faculty guests enjoy free room and board. Most often, these faculty are visiting Cornell on one- or two-year appointments. This practice offers housemembers the opportunity to engage with scholars in both formal and informal contexts. Guests often provide the House with seminars or lectures as well as contributing to dinnertime conversation and generally enriching the intellectual interchange that takes place in Telluride House.

The Telluride House also provides living quarters for short-term visitors, such as conference attendees or touring artists, and visiting speakers. Preference is given to those for whom a trip would not be possible without the House’s lodging. Please contact us for more information.

Learn more or apply at the CBTA website.