Founded at UC Berkeley in 1970 by Chicano/Latino students, our multi-racial residential leadership program is designed for full-time undergraduate students passionate about advancing racial equity.
The application cycle is now closed and will open in Spring 2023. Check back for updates.
We believe in a holistic approach to leadership development. Each academic year, Casa is a home away from home for low- and moderate-income, first-generation college students from diverse backgrounds.
Located blocks away from the UC Berkeley campus, our goal is to create a nurturing living environment that supports the leadership development and academic success of UC Berkeley students to complete their college education.
Each year 40 University of California—Berkeley students are provided a unique opportunity to live, learn, and grow together. If you are ready to join a growing cohort of leaders who are driving racial equity and shaping a more just future across public, private and nonprofit sectors, apply today!
The Casa Joaquin Murrieta housing application changes each cycle. We recommend that before beginning your application carefully review this page of guidelines and the entire online application in Formstack. Please do not email, fax, or drop off a paper application in person.
To apply, students must be enrolled and in good standing with the University of California for the current academic calendar year which includes both academic and disciplinary standing.Apply Today
“Casa Joaquin has truly been a blessing for me. Here I found a community with people of similar backgrounds and made great friends. You will always meet caring people who will support and understand you and it was a place that allowed me to grow out of my comfort zone. At the end of a busy day, Casa was the place that I always looked forward to returning to.”
“Casa Joaquin was a big part of my Cal experience. With very limited housing options for undocumented students like me, Casa Joaquin was both affordable and an empowering place to meet other students of color and grow as a student. I had a support system, both among my fellow Casistas and with Casa and Greenlining staff. Casa was literally my ‘home away from home.”
Casa was conceived in 1969, when there were only 150 Chicano students on campus. During that year, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) and the Frente Foundation received a $20,000 loan from the Chancellor’s office to recruit Chicano students. Seventy-seven Chicano students enrolled in classes in the fall of 1969. The Chicano-owned student housing project was conceived by the Frente Foundation and three Chicano students: John Gamboa, Robert Apodaca, and Manuel Delgado.
Since its establishment, Casa has been devoted to personal, educational, and leadership development opportunities as well as increasing student recruitment and retention, and pride through ownership.
Casa was originally named the La Raza Student Cooperative House. It was located on Durant Avenue and housed 24 Chicano students. After four years, the property was sold and the house had to relocate to its current location, where it served 40 students. The house was renamed Chicano Student Cooperative Housing, and many years later it was renamed again to honor Joaquin Murrieta as a “Robin Hood,” and not a bandit as depicted in history textbooks.Casa First Retreat
Casa made history through its involvement on campus and within the community as headquarters for student strikes and social justice efforts. Casa was and continues to be a home away from home that continues to serve low-income, first-generation students.
In 2004, the Greenlining Institute acquired Casa, integrating it as a part of its Leadership Academy. Since then, Casa has become a multi-ethnic residential leadership program serving over 30 UC Berkeley students in any given year. It provides community building, academic support, and leadership development through mentorship and professional skills workshops.
Casa is a transformative living and learning experience. As a unique residential leadership program, we welcome college students who are eager to grow their leadership skills regardless of the field they are pursuing. Through workshops, peer events and everyday household tasks, we ask Casistas to invest time both in self and in building an intentional community.
Yes, Casa is open and functioning at a limited capacity to ensure that staff and residents are safe and complying with local CDC guidelines. If selected, you’ll be given more information about COVID-19 safety measures.
Casa follows UC Berkeley COVID guidelines. Residents are required to show proof of vaccination. We also constantly monitor and follow the CDC’s, the City of Berkeley and UC Berkeley’s protocols around mask wearing.
All currently enrolled or incoming full-time UC Berkeley undergraduate students are eligible to participate in this program. This includes international students who identify as low-income students and first- generation students. Unfortunately, students who either have poor disciplinary standings or who are “on-leave” from the university are not eligible.
An interest in living in an intentional community space and attendance is required for workshops on Wednesdays (5:30– 7 p.m.) and other community activities:
Casa offers Single, Double, Triple, and Quadruple rooms. Rent includes wi-fi. Casa has a kitchen, living room, and study room, open 24 hours a day. Platinum meal plan purchases will also be reimbursed for all residents.
Community Building activities include:
All applications are processed after the deadline. Applicants can expect to hear back three weeks from the application deadline.
Yes, there is a waitlist. However, it is only for candidates who previously applied to live at Casa, met our qualifications and were not accepted. These candidates are added to the waitlist each application period.
Due to limited space, residents cannot pick their own room. We ask residents for their preferences for room choice in the application and try to meet as many requests as possible. Program participants are notified of their room assignment after they are accepted into the program.
Yes. We ask that residents pay a refundable security deposit of $500.00 and sign a housing contract prior to moving in. The contract is provided by the House Manager and the deposit will be refunded upon move-out, if no damages/fees have been incurred.
The total rent depends on the type of room you are assigned. We do our best to accommodate most rooming requests, but please keep in mind that space is limited:
Each resident is provided with a bed, mattress, dresser, desk, chair, and a bookcase, which must stay in your bedroom at all times. In consultation with their roommates, residents are free to arrange their rooms in any format they like, provided no fire exits are blocked.
Please note that residents are responsible for leaving their room the way they found it. For example, if there are bunked beds, it is the resident’s responsibility to ensure that they are returned to the same bunked style when they move out. Residents who fail to return bunk beds to the original configuration may be charged a fee.
We get this question a lot from students. The short answer is no. Building a healthy living-learning community that welcomes students from all backgrounds requires that we maintain community agreements that are inclusive of people from all walks of life. Therefore, Casa maintains quiet hours throughout the week and we have a strict policy of no alcohol, no tobacco, and no drugs in the building.
However, Casa prides itself to be a lively and fun-filled house that often has community gatherings with music, food, and karaoke competitions.
Yes, we are a living-learning program that welcomes all genders and identities. Shared living spaces like the kitchen, dining room, study hall, living room, and the bathrooms are all gender inclusive spaces. When sharing a room, students of the same gender will be placed together.
The application timeline and program dates for next year will be released in December 2022.