Elmira, a city of 35,000, is located in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. Nestled in the lush, rolling hills of the southern Finger Lakes region, Elmira is a thriving, forward-thinking American community, with fresh air and wide-open spaces in harmony with the modern amenities of a larger city. Nearby, you can attend superb, live entertainment; soar back into American aviation's lofty past; tour historic neighborhoods; investigate Mark Twain's imagination or visit the beautiful lakes that give this region its name.
Within a ten-block radius of the Elmira College campus, there are many restaurants, a performing arts center, a fine arts museum, and shopping. There are about 60 churches, serving most denominations, within walking distance of campus.
Elmira is the place that many scholars say Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) did his best work, penning the American literary classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many other works in his study. In 1870, Clemens married Elmira College alumna Olivia Langdon of the Class of 1864. In 1983, the Langdon family gave the study and the historic Quarry Farm to Elmira College. Now Quarry Farm is used as a residence for visiting Twain scholars from all over the world. The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Quarry Farm offers year-round educational programs.
Elmira College offers a wide range of exciting off-campus opportunities. During the Spring Term, for instance, Elmira College students have traveled with faculty to San Salvador in the Bahamas, Spain, France, Russia, England, Italy, Germany, China, Scotland, Japan, Peru, Egypt, Belgium, Greece, Mexico, Australia, the American West, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The highly selective and competitive Junior Year Abroad (JYA) program facilitates the study of foreign language and cultures. Generally, financial aid applies to the JYA program; however, tuition exchange programs do not apply. Interested students apply in the Fall Term of their sophomore year.
All Elmira College students participate in a community service activity for a minimum of 60 hours. This service is an academic course required for graduation. New students register for Community Service before beginning their first term at Elmira, with the expectation that they will complete the requirement by the end of their first year. Many find the experience so rewarding that they continue volunteering to help others all four years.
Student Organizations & Activities
Students are welcome to join one of more than 100 clubs or organizations any time during the academic year. During Summer Registration, new students can browse our Club and Organization Guide and sign up to receive more information from club officers. Two Activities Fairs, one during Fall Orientation and another in mid-September, offer the opportunity to meet current club members, ask questions, and see photos of past events and projects.
Some of our clubs and organizations include: Classics Society, Equestrian Club, French Club, Political Science Club, Silent Voices, Spanish Club, College Republicans, Circle K, Compeer, College Democrats, EC Ambassadors, Orientation Leaders, Red Cross Club, Work for a Cure, Relay for Life, Christian Fellowship, Hillel Jewish Student Association, and the Ski Club.
National Honor Societies include: Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha Phi Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Beta Beta, Sigma Beta Delta, Lambda Iota Tau, National Residence Hall Honorary, Pi Sigma Alpha, Sigma Theta Tau, Lambda Alpha, Pi Gamma Mu, and Alpha Sigma Lambda.
Elmira is an NCAA Division III college, as well as a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the New York State Women's Collegiate Athletic Association, United Volleyball Conference, and the Empire 8 Conference. We field varsity teams in men's and women's basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, men's and women's golf, men's and women's ice hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's volleyball. National rankings and post-season tournaments have become annual traditions for the Soaring Eagles.
Elmira College offers its students the chance to compete in collegiate athletics at many levels. The goal of the Junior Varsity and Intramural program is to offer students a chance to participate in athletics without the focus on skill level. Intramural sports range anywhere from flag football to ultimate frisbee. The success of our intramural program can be seen every Term III as our students softball teams compete daily.
The city of Elmira "does not give too much to the students. Sure, there are places to eat, mini-malls, and bigger malls, but that can get old. How many times can a college student go out to eat? We're not made of money and can't afford that every week, never mind every night!" Worse still, some here feel the city is "sketchy and unsafe." Others counter "the idea that Elmira is 'sketchy' depends on where your hometown is "says one student." My hometown is a big city, so this area seems really tame to me." Fortunately, "Elmira College knows this" about its hometown and compensates. "Every weekend they set up some comedian or band to come and play." In addition, campus life provides "athletic events all week and movies every weekend, usually ones that were in theaters and are very popular! All in all, there's a lot to do for a small college." Although EC "does not have any fraternities or sororities, people still find lots of ways to get connected. Partying on weekends is common, but it's not rampant. You can choose not to take part in it and avoid it easily."