The FAQ of FAQs

General FAQ

How big is Grebel? What are the benefits of a small residence?

There are 140 beds in the Grebel residence, which is as big as we would like it. We don’t want you to become just a face in the crowd, lost among the craziness of university. At Grebel, we get to know one another by name. Open doors allow for the flow of conversation and relationship building. Trust is built and strong friendships are made. Grebel may be a small residence but it quickly starts to feel like a big family and there are plenty of perks to that! It starts to feel a lot more like a place to call home.

Hear what Zoe says about that.

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Why is there an application and interview process at Grebel?

Grebel is a close knit and personable community, so naturally we want to get to know you! Your interests, personality, activities, beliefs and values are all important to us. We want you to ask all your questions so that you know Grebel is a good fit!  Most students find that they enjoy their interview, and that it gives them insight into what living at Grebel is like. Don’t be nervous - we really just want to meet you!

Listen to Ananya speak about the interview and what to expect.

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What is the due date to apply to residence?

We continue to accept applications until our residence is full, so there is no hard due date. Since interviews happen through April and May, we recommend getting your application in by the beginning of April so you can choose an interview time that works best for you! Everyone who applies before May is guaranteed an interview.

Grebel is affiliated with the Mennonite Church. What does that mean?

Grebel is supported and influenced by the Mennonite church, an Anabaptist church denomination. Due to our Mennonite roots, Grebel promotes emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth. It strives for integration of reason and imagination, faith and action, veracity and personal commitment. Grebel is a place where the student body is nurtured to think beyond themselves and think broadly about the world while learning how to live communally. Skills are built and passions are ignited to pursue a stronger healthier world.

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If I am not Mennonite, can I live at Grebel? What if I do not subscribe to any religion at all?

Having students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives is important to us here at Grebel. Each one of us brings insight and knowledge and whether you subscribe to a religion or not we welcome you. Come willing to share your ideas and/or learn from the ideas of others. Grebel provides a unique space to wrestle alongside your friends and peers with some of life’s biggest questions.

Is Grebel an affirming place for the LGBTQ+ community?

Yes, Grebel strives to be an affirming, supportive, and safe place for 2SLGBTQ+ students to live. Student Services works to create a respectful living environment for all of our residents. Grebel's Larger Leadership team includes two Queer, Allied, and Questioning (QuAQ) representatives who run Grebel-wide events and provide support to the QuAQ community.

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Is Grebel just for arts students? What if I want to live with people in other faculties?

At Grebel, we are very intentional about assuring that we have a blend of students from all six faculties living here. Why?

  1. It’s important to learn from the unique perspectives of others and be able to collaborate and learn from one another. Engineers need artists, writers need mathematicians, scientists need environmentalists. We all think a little differently but can learn to collaborate and even depend on each other to have a positive impact on the world around us.
  2. At Grebel, you will also find a supportive group of peers, both in first year and beyond, who are in your program and faculty. You can help each other get through the not-so-easy assignments.

Sarah talks about the benefits of living with people from other faculties!

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Grebel is the home of Music and Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS). What does that mean for me?

Grebel is not just a residence - it is also an academic community. What does that mean for you? Despite your program, everyone is welcome to take Grebel courses as electives.

If you have an interest in music you will be at the heart of it all. Attend a concert, jam out in the practice rooms, or participate in our talent shows and coffee houses! If you have an interest in peace or social justice, connect to the Center for Peace Advancement, attend special peace-related events, and engage in big, peace related topics with your peers, professors, and staff in the building.

No matter what program you are in you will be able to interact with our Music and PACS staff and faculty. In fact, each resident is encouraged to take a Grebel course or two while living at Grebel. This helps to build a relationship between Grebel faculty and students living in residence. Some academic programs have restricted elective space making enrolment in a Grebel course challenging and sometimes not feasible. Don't worry about that. Exceptions are regularly accommodated by the Director of Student Services. Don't hesitate to e-mail about this.

Andrew is an Environment student who benefited from Grebel’s Music program - hear a little more about his life at Grebel!

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Do international or out-of-province students live at Grebel?

So glad you asked! We believe a tight-knit community is important for anyone who is moving away from home for the first time but when moving from across the country or across the globe it is especially important! If you are an international or out-of-province student, you are not going to be able to go home on the weekends, maybe not even for the major holidays. You are not only adjusting to university life - you are adjusting to life in Ontario, Canada. Grebel is a supportive community where you can feel comfortable asking questions. Your peers will be there for you and you will quickly find yourself feeling at home here.

Caitlin joined our community from British Columbia - hear about her transition!

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What are the benefits of having a multi-year residence?

Grebel encourages students to live in residence past first year. Usually about half of our residents are first year, and half are in their upper years. Upper year students are great mentors and will help you adjust to university! They take on leadership roles, offer advice, and can help you with your school assignments! There is lots of award money available for students who choose to stay at Grebel past their first year. 

“Having a welcoming group of upper-year students made me feel like I belonged here in no time”. See what else Micah has to say about life in a multi-year residence!

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I can’t afford residence. Is there any financial help available?

Yes! There are many generous donors connected to Grebel who want to make the Grebel residence experience possible for you. Thanks to their support Grebel has several entrance awards and need-based financial aid. Please see our financial aid and awards page for more detailed information.

Joseph was the recipient of the Peace Works Technology Solutions Award. Check out what he has to say!

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What does it cost to live at Grebel?

When you pay your Grebel fee, you are paying for your room, an all-you-can-eat meal plan, internet, and utilities. It might look like a lot of money, but it covers all your living expenses all in one place!

Residence entrance awards are also available. Last year Grebel gave away more than $500,000 in upper year, first year, and academic student awards.

Length of residence Fee (includes full meal plan)
8-month contract* $13 730
4-month contract $6 865

*Note: 60% of an 8-month contract is paid in the first term and 40% is paid in the second term.

Grebel Spaces FAQ

Are there gender-neutral washrooms in residence?

Yes there are gender-neutral washrooms in residence. You will have the opportunity to indicate your preference to be placed near a gender neutral washroom.

Are there single rooms at Grebel? What do the rooms look like/include?

Grebel is a traditional style residence, meaning it has double rooms. We believe having a roommate is an important part of the University experience. A roommate can help you make valuable connections, combat loneliness, transition to University life and they help you to learn how to live communally. Having a roommate is a once in a lifetime experience.

Here at Grebel, even with a roommate, you will have a lot of personal space. Grebel dorm rooms among the largest on campus with huge windows and modular furniture, so you can customize your room. You will be provided with a single bed, mattress, study desk with bookshelves, desk chair, wardrobe and window drapes. Two sheets, a pillow case and one blanket can be provided if required.

Anya talks about finding personal time and space while having a roommate at Grebel.

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Ruth and Abby show you around their Grebel residence room.

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How far do I have to walk to class?

Grebel is located right on campus! Depending on the class and building, your walk could range from 1 minute to 15 minutes. As a Grebelite, walking to class can be fun! You may be walking to and from class with other Grebelites or waving to all the Grebelites you meet along the path.

Residence Life FAQ 

Can I choose my roommate? How will my roommate be chosen?

In order to help everyone integrate well into the Grebel community, Student Services and the don team choose the roommates. If you have a friend who will also be living here, they will be just down the hall from you since Grebel is such a small residence!

Before you arrive you will fill out a roommate survey where we will ask you about things like your sleeping and studying habits. We will try our very best to pair you with someone who is compatible! 

Having a roommate is an important part of the University experience. A roommate can help you make valuable connections, combat loneliness, transition to University life, and they help you to learn how to live communally. Having a roommate is a once in a lifetime experience.

Hear a little about Jacob and Josh’s roommate experience!

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Are there Chapel services at Grebel? What are chapels at Grebel like?

Yes! There are chapel services held on Wednesdays.

Suomi describes the Grebel Chapel services very well. They are different each week, quite interactive, student planned and often student-led.

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What is Community Supper?

On Wednesdays from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm we all join together to share a meal.  Community supper is a very important part of community life and we ask that all of our residents attend.

At community supper there is fresh homemade bread, and a delicious buffet meal. Student announcements make us aware of all of the Grebel events coming up and guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds prepare a talk to encourage, challenge, and inspire current Grebelites. Our community supper guest speakers come from all walks of life, and include activists, business owners, professors, musicians, politicians - the list goes on!

Grace can give you a better sense of what community supper is!

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I keep hearing about Grebel’s food. Why is it so good?

Grebel food is cooked fresh each day in-house. There are 21 all-you-can-eat meals per week and snack nights. Students enjoy homemade bread, delicious baking, salad bar, deli bar, vegetarian options, and much more. This is not your typical residence meal plan! Meals are cooked by Grebel kitchen staff who are passionate about food - you can taste the difference! Grebel also has a brand new kitchen and dining area - these bright spaces create a warm and welcoming environment!

Don’t take our word for it - check out what Lorena has to say about food at Grebel!

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How can I get involved at Grebel?

There are tons of ways to get involved! And if there’s something you want to do that doesn’t exist yet, feel free to start something new!

  • Student Council
  • Peace Society
  • Environment Society
  • Yearbook Committee
  • Orientation Week activities
  • Chapels
  • Musical theatre
  • Coffee houses
  • Bible studies
  • Athletics
  • Chapel Choir
  • Student newspaper
  • Ambassadors
  • Costume contests
  • Dances
  • Movie nights
  • Talent shows   
  • Gents, FLOW, QuAQ                 
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Sounds like there is a lot to do at Grebel. Will I have time to study?

Sure Grebel is a lot of fun and there is lots to do, but you are here to get a degree. It is very important to us that you thrive academically, and it’s all about finding the balance between extracurriculars and school. Thankfully, at Grebel you have a large support network of people who want to help you find that balance!

When you need to hit the books there are a lot of study space options here apart from your room. There is a silent study room and group study room open all hours, and a beautiful library attached to the residence floors. Some Grebel students prefer to study in the games lounge surrounded by friends, in the dining hall close to the food, or in the atrium looking out the floor to ceiling windows. It’s all about figuring out how you study best!

Elora can tell you a little more about what it’s like to live at Grebel and study hard!

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Who is going to be there for me if I am struggling at University?

At Grebel we try our best to assure you stay healthy; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. There are a lot of people here who care about you.

Dons - There are five student dons hired by the college to care for the well-being of the residents, as well as to help maintain a high quality of residence life. They live in the residence and are available for assistance and support on evenings, overnight, and weekends.

Campus Hosts - A married couple called Campus Hosts also live at Grebel and provide additional support to the Dons and students in residence.

Student Services - A dedicated team of four staff found just steps away from the residence floors are attentive to student needs. They conduct beginning of term check in conversations and end of term check out conversations. They care about your mental health, physical and social well-being, and academic thriving. You meet them in the interview even before you get here so we hope you will feel comfortable going to them for help.  

Upper Years – Having older students in the residence who have done it all before is invaluable! Grebel is about 50% upper years and 50% first years. See the questions below to get the inside scoop on these fine folk!

Madeleine gives some insight into some of the ways you can stay healthy at Grebel.

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Other ways of connecting to Grebel's residence program

I am applying for a co-op program. What does doing co-op and living at Grebel look like?

Should you receive an offer to live at Grebel your residence contract will match your University of Waterloo co-op streaming and whether you live at Grebel for the fall, winter or spring you are in for a treat. Grebel is awesome year round! While co-op has plenty of perks, it can get exhausting moving from city to city and always feeling like you are starting fresh. As a co-op student you can connect to Grebel during your academic terms whenever you come back; whether it's as a resident or an associate you will always find familiar faces and a friendly, home-like atmosphere. You can even live or associate at Grebel during your co-op term!

Listen to MacKenzie talk about how having Grebel as a home base impacted his university experience!

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Can I live at Grebel just for Fall?

No. When applying for fall you are required to sign a fall and winter or a fall and spring two-term contract. You can, however, apply to live at Grebel for just the winter or just the spring. 

What is the Associate program and how does it impact me

Associates are non-residents who enjoy many of the same privileges as any resident student, including full participation in the Grebel's academic, spiritual, musical, athletic and social life. On-campus associates are upper year students who live in the 32-person apartment building next to the residences, and off-campus associates live at home or in houses, most likely with friends they met at Grebel!

As a first-year, associates might host you and your roommate at their place for a meal, they might organize homework help nights, or be on your intramural sports team. These are students who still love Grebel and want to continue making it an awesome place to live.

Can I associate in my first year?

Yes! We would love to have you connect to our community. If you are commuting from home or living off-campus you can benefit greatly from the tight-knit community offered at Grebel. Grebel can be your home base between classes, participate in as many Grebel events as you like and make a ton of connections here. To become an associate you will have to fill out the New to Grebel Associate Application Form.

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I still have a question! Who can I talk to?

Want to talk to someone with lived experience? Book a chat with a current student or attend a virtual open house. You can sign up for these options and others by visiting our Visit Grebel page.

Prefer email? Connect with Gemma Ricker, Student Life and Recruitment coordinator. She is available by email at or phone/text at 289 680 8564. You can also request a video chat with her.