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Residential Life at SFCM: A Closer Look

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From movie nights, social clubs, and athletic clubs, to scenic San Francisco excursions, SFCM's Coordinator of Student Life gives a look at student life off the stage and outside the classroom.

June 24, 2024 by Mark Taylor

SFCM is where music happens, but it's also where creators live, work, and play outside the practice room.

The Conservatory is dedicated to helping students thrive intellectually, artistically, professionally, and individually. After all, composing the future of music is more than hitting all the right notes, it's about fostering a place where young musicians thrive in all aspects of life. 

"When students are not in class, they have full control over what activity they want to do," said Coordinator for Residential Life Declan McLeish. From the moment they arrive on campus, the Student Affairs team is dedicated to providing numerous activities for students to help create community. 

For students living in SFCM's Bowes Center, which was inaugurated in 2021, residents will find dedicated practice rooms on every residential floor, and in the lower levels of the building. There are also three performance spaces, a dining hall, multiple lounges, and a rooftop terrace overlooking the San Francisco skyline. Residential floors are also curated to keep students of the same year on the same floor. 

SFCM's Bowes Center.

Students gather in the Bowes Center lounge and cafeteria.

When not practicing or performing, students have a plethora of options for activities, from student clubs like Game Audio Club, Solfège Club and Recording Club, to non-musical ways to bond with their classmates like Running Club, Basketball Club, and High Fitness. "There are so many clubs available for students to join," McLeish said. In addition, there are weekly (if not more often) events for students to partake in outside organized activities. "Sometimes students will have rooftop fire-pits, late-night vibes, or they will do a movie night," McLeish added. On the Bowes Center's first floor also sits Uccello Lounge, a full-fledged public restaurant that features fine dining, drinks, and live music by SFCM musicians. 

student in dorm

SFCM student inside a Bowes Center dorm room.

When venturing off SFCM's campus, students find themselves in the bustling San Francisco neighborhood of Hayes Valley. "We are in the arts district, right in Hayes Valley, which is a street full of cafes, restaurants, and parks, some great outdoor stuff," McLeish said. The neighborhood just celebrated an opening of its very own Trader Joe's grocery store, and SFGate described Hayes Valley as “a vibrant, walkable district of small businesses, chic shops and sensational dining." 

Patricia's Green on a sunny day

Patricia's Green.

Just steps from campus is Patricia's Green, a popular outdoor park with food, activities, an outdoor gym, and a 20-minute drive from SFCM will take you to the ocean and other famous San Francisco sites like Alamo Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, and Fisherman's Wharf. "You have all the options you have in a big city, but you don't have to travel too far, or sit in too much traffic to get to where you want to go," McLeish added.

If you’ve yet to visit in person, we invite you to explore our virtual tour and 360-degree images of performance halls, dorm spaces, and more.

You can also review the Annual Campus Safety and Security Report, which reports data gathered annually by Campus Security and the San Francisco Police Department. SFCM’s closed campus features around-the-clock security officers in our buildings and allows access only to students, faculty, staff, and guests utilizing badge access.

Learn more about campus life at SFCM.