Residence Life

Student Housing and Meals

Students are housed in university residence halls and arranged by age and gender. Residence halls are supervised by a team of residence life counselors lead by two Co-Directors of residence life.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by the University’s state of the Art McClurg Dining Hall.  Students also have access to Stirling’s coffee house on campus, and a number of dining options in the village of Sewanee.

The University of the South sits upon 13,000 acres called the Domain. Take a minute to explore the Domain with this beautiful video by Stephen Alvarez.
Who can resist baby goats at the University Farm?
Goats at the Farm love to play and get scratches from students!

COVID-19 Precautions

The Festival is following all University and CDC guidelines related to COVID-19. All Festival participants will be tested on arrival to Sewanee and prior to departure. Random testing will happen throughout the summer season.
Learn more about the University’s COVID-19 policies here.

At The Sewanee Summer Music Festival, we take the health and well-being of our students, faculty, Festival Artists, patrons, staff, and community seriously. Though we are optimistically planning for a safe, LIVE, in-person Festival this summer, the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus are ever-evolving.

With this in mind, Music Festival staff are continuously in touch and working closely with the University of the South leadership, and following the CDC, and state and federal government guidelines. We will remain flexible in order to operate within these guidelines to keep our community safe.

Given what we know at present, here is the current plan for the 2021 in-person, on-campus Festival:

Health and safety

  • Masks will be required in all public spaces throughout the domain, in accordance with University and community guidelines. Masks will also be worn during all rehearsals and performances
  • COVID-19 testing will be conducted on arrival, and at the conclusion of the festival, prior to departure. 
  • Students will be asked to remain on the domain for the duration of the festival
  • Outside visitors are not permitted with the exception of immediate family. Any family visitors will be required to follow all community regulations for masking and social distincing

The Experience: 

  • Orchestral programming will reflect a repertoire that can be performed in a more socially distant environment. 
  • Singers will be socially distanced from pianists or other instrumental collaborators
  • The Cumberland orchestra and Sewanee Symphony will perform on different days, as opposed to the traditional shared concert format 
  • Bell covers and flute guards will be required for all instrumentalists 
  • Plexiglass shielding will be used in chamber and orchestral rehearsals, vocal coaching and performances 
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in all shared spaces 
  • Pianos will be cleaned with a peroxide solution after each use 
  • Spaces will be left unoccupied after each rehearsal and performance to allow for proper air circulation.  Alternative venues, including tented outdoor spaces and large, well ventilated indoor spaces, will be used for rehearsals and performances
  • All concert performances will be live-streamed, with various subscription options available 

This list is not exhaustive, and additional protocols may be established as conditions require. Of course, all of us are anxious to return to the experience we all know and enjoy so much.  Should conditions warrant, will certainly reevaluate these policies in the event we are able restore an experience that is closer to normal.  Please know, should the festival need to pivot to a virtual format, students will have the option to participate in online lessons and masterclasses ( at a reduced cost) or receive a full refund, minus application fees. 

Residence Life Team

The residence life team of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival is here to help ensure a safe environment for our students so they may focus on their studies at the festival. They are here to ensure that medical emergencies are addressed, and issues related to the overall health and wellbeing of festival participants are handled in a reasonable and timely way. Participants are responsible for maintaining their own daily schedules, as well as bringing medical needs to the attention of the residence life team. 

Health Insurance and Medical Care

All students must be covered by health insurance. International students may make health insurance arrangements through their airline provider.

In addition to a hospital on campus, there is a range of medical facilities available to students during their stay in Sewanee. Specific medical care and medication-related questions can be answered after the admission process is completed.


Several special recreational outings are arranged each summer and include hiking, swimming, and caving. The Fowler Sports and Fitness center is a state-of-the-art athletic facility that houses a swimming pool, weight room, and courts for basketball, volleyball, handball, racquetball, and squash. Outdoor facilities include an all-weather track, 10 tennis courts, golf course, an equestrian center, and several fields for recreational sports.

Residence Life FAQ

Q: Do pre-college students have a curfew?

A: Yes, all pre-college students have a curfew during the duration of the festival. This will be established in residence life meetings at the start of SSMF.

Q: Will I get to select my roommate?

A: Every accommodation will be made to match roommate requests.  Both parties need to request to room with the other, and parents must approve as well for participants under the age of 18.

Q: Are pre-college and college students housed in the same dorms?

A: No, students under 18 are in a different residence hall from students 18 and above.

Q: Are pre-college and college students allowed to socialize together?  

A: During normal operating hours of the festival, pre-college and college students will interact.  However, pre-college students are not allowed into the residence halls of college students, and college students are not allowed into the residence halls of pre-college students, at any time, for any reason during the duration of SSMF.

Q: What are the Alcohol and Drug policies of the University?

A: Rules Governing Alcohol – The University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Under Tennessee law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine. It is also unlawful for a person over 21 to buy or furnish alcoholic beverages for anyone under 21. Any student who violates state law or the University’s alcohol policies is subject both to the jurisdiction of local law enforcement officials and the discipline system of the University.

Please review the University’s drug policy HERE

Q: Will the residence life staff wake me up in the morning?

A: No, participants are responsible for waking themselves up and being on time to rehearsals. 

Q: Will the residence life staff make sure I eat breakfast and lunch?

A: No, you need to do that on your own. Meal times are built into your daily schedule. 

Q: Will the residence life staff walk me to my dorm at night?

A: Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure your safety at all times. If you feel that you need someone on the team to escort you back to your residence hall, please feel free to ask.  

Q: I am having trouble with my roommate, who should I talk to?

A: You should bring the issue to the attention of your proctor, then one of the co-directors of residence life. Address problems quickly, don’t let them linger. Most situations can be dealt with easily with just a little communication.

Q: Is Sewanee a camp or a festival?  

A: Sewanee is a long-running internationally renowned summer music festival for serious young musicians. Participants come here, primarily, to study their instruments in the context of orchestral and chamber music. There will also be ample time for rest, relaxation and fun – but this is not a summer camp. We look forward to welcoming you to our campus this summer!

SSMF Check-In Procedures

1. Any students flying need to book a Groome Shuttle to Monteagle, TN at The Smoke House Lodge. After doing so, the student’s flight information and shuttle information need to be emailed to the SSMF office, so pick-up and transportation to campus can be arranged.
2. Please plan to arrive at Guerry Hall, located on Georgia Avenue, off of University Avenue.
3. At check-in, students should be prepared with all appropriate paperwork, emailed out by the festival in advance. This paperwork will include:
a. Medical Information Survey – medical history to be used by Residence Life staff should your child need medical attention during the festival.
b. Copy of Health Insurance Card – to be used by Residence Life staff should your child need medical attention during the festival.
c. Media Release Form – to be used by the festival for any photography or videos used by the festival, i.e. on the SSMF website or live-stream concerts.
d. Transportation Release Form – allows students to be transported to off-site concerts in university vehicles.
e. Minor Indemnification Form – only for students under the age of 18. This form is required by the university for legal purposes of housing a minor on campus for a month.
5. After turning in paperwork to a member of the staff, students will receive a meal card and a room key for their assigned dormitory and room for the duration of the festival. Students will sign for receipt of these on a check-in form, to be done at the time of check-in.
6. Students are then free to drive to their dormitory, unload their belongings, and get set up for their time at the festival!

SSMF Check-out Procedures

1. Travel Departure Forms
a. Pick-up and turn-in at Res Life Office (Guerry 114)
b. Mandatory for flyers, we will not have transportation for you without this form
2. Groome Shuttles
a. Book your shuttle to leave from Monteagle, we will shuttle you from Guerry Lobby to Monteagle Smoke House
3. Check Out Procedure
a. Clean room
b. Empty all trash, recycling, vacuum/dust, laundry
c. Pack everything
d. Clothes, linens, towels, music, instruments
e. Set everything in middle of the room while out for the concert
f. Check Out from 9am-12pm and 5-8pm
g. All of above MUST be done prior to beginning check out
h. Proctors check for any damage to the room (holes, blinds, doors, etc.)
i. Proctors sign off check out form (room damages, keys, linens, music)
j. AFTER all of the above is done, students will go to Convocation Hall to return their keys and meal cards to Conference Services.
k. Any borrowed linens should be returned to the Guerry Lobby in a trash bag
l. Load up car/shuttle, safe travels home!
4. Late Departures
a. Have room inspected and fill out check-out form on Sunday from 9am-12pm or 5-8pm
b. Bring keys to Res Life Office (Guerry 114) on Monday before you leave
c. If borrowed linens, bring to Guerry Lobby prior to departure