A new phase of life, a new city and a new university are exciting but potentially overwhelming. Living in a residential college on campus can make the adjustment smoother.

Getting to know people is easier, caring staff are on hand to help out, and the only thing you need to do for meals is show up. There are no worries about commuting, grocery shopping, rent or household bills, so you can concentrate on your studies and making the most of university life.

As well as these benefits, Mandelbaum House gives you a family atmosphere, extra space and privacy, a calm and accepting environment and lots of opportunity to explore your individuality and independence in a safe and supportive community.

Our unique character shows in the little extras that enhance your uni experience.

  • Everyone knowing your name, and most knowing about the dog you’re missing back home.
  • Everyone also knowing when it’s your birthday — and enjoying the cake!
  • Thoughtful touches like extra snacks during intense study weeks and visits from a massage therapist at exam time.
  • Formal dinners each month with outstanding guest speakers. A gourmet menu is served by waitstaff and everyone frocks up.
  • Theme dinners celebrating the diverse cultures and backgrounds in our community. Bring your maracas!
  • Flexibility — if you can’t be here for lunch or dinner we’ve got you covered with takeaway meals.
  • No unknown faces in your corridor.


When you come to live at Mandelbaum House you automatically join the Mandelbaum House Residents’ Society (RESSOC).

Who runs it?

RESSOC is run by our residents for our residents. Each year the members elect a group of residents to represent everyone’s interests and coordinate activities and events. The executive is comprised of a president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and inter-college rep. A food sub-committee is also elected and they liaise regularly with the CEO and head chef.

What does it cost?

The membership fee is $100 per semester and is paid along with fees for accommodation at the beginning of the semester.

  • RESSOC is both fun and useful, providing:
    • lots of USU Access Card discounts and deals on campus and throughout Sydney
    • in-house movie nights and games nights including table tennis and pool comps
    • excursions like laser tag, barefoot bowls, wine and cheese evenings and beach trips
    • free printing paper and use of the printer in the library
    • equipment for the games room and table tennis table
    • inter-college competitions including Intramural Sport and the new Intramural Arts Competition.


Mandelbaum House was founded as an independent and inclusive college welcoming all students irrespective of race, religion, class, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. We welcome students from all over the world and are proud of our diversity. We respect and value the religion of each of our residents.

As intended by our founder, Rachel Lipton (née Mandelbaum), our college has special links to Jewish cultural life.

For an insight into Jewish life at Mandelbaum here is a piece by a Sydney Jewish student. For an international perspective from an orthodox observant Jewish exchange student from New York, read this letter. To learn about the impact living at Mandelbaum has had for some of our Jewish alumni read this article.


Mandelbaum House adheres to Jewish dietary laws (kashrut). During the academic semester we provide 18 meals per week for residents.


Mandelbaum House is within short walking distance of Newtown Synagogue.


The college celebrates many of the festivals on the Jewish calendar — as well as festivals from other faiths and cultures through our theme dinners.

Scholar in Residence

Each year, the Mandelbaum Trust invites world-renowned scholars to stay for a period of time and to present lectures and courses at the college. These courses are open to the general public and residents are welcome to attend, regardless of their religion. For more information, please see Mandelbaum Learning.

We will not be hosting a scholar in residence in 2021 and instead there will be a series of ten online lectures focussing on education in times of national disasters and calamity in Jewish History. These online lectures are held in conjunction with the Sydney Jewish Museum and Sydney University’s Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies.

Inter-university contacts

Mandelbaum House has a strong relationship with the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) and many of our residents are members of this union. Like Hillel in the USA, AUJS provides opportunities for residents to meet Jewish students through social, cultural and educational events.

If you’re interested in public events such as lectures and courses under the Mandelbaum Learning wing, please see Mandelbaum Learning.

A welcoming and warm place immersed in cultural diversity,
great memories and friends for life!

Audrey, New Caledonia

It is wonderful to have a spacious and fully furnished bedroom
to which I can retreat to after a busy day of classes!

Julio, Colombia

I love that I always have a healthy option
at every meal that is also delicious!

Rebecca, USA

When you go to uni with 60,000 people,
it’s nice to come back to a family of 40 at the end of the day.

Michael, Australia

Mandelbaum House has been the most diverse,
welcoming, active society I have ever been involved in.

Alex, USA