Welcome FROM THE Caltech Y

The Caltech Y is a student driven organization affiliated with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Initially founded in 1916 as a student chapter of the YMCA, the mission of today’s Y is to provide programs that promote leadership and self-discovery planned by, and for, students. While the Caltech Y is now a separate non-profit with a staff and a board of directors, the spirit of our founding remains – student-led opportunities that enrich student life and challenge students to grow into responsible citizens of the world.

All Y programs encourage students to become active, engaged participants at Caltech and in the community at large, locally, nationally, and globally. Leadership opportunities are available for students who wish to play an active role on campus either through coordinating volunteer projects, planning outdoor trips, inviting speakers, or serving on the ExComm, the Y's student governing board.

Check out what these students have shared about their Caltech Y experience.

Overview of Y Programs and Opportunities


Caltech students have a long history of responding to social issues and global concerns. The Y recognizes the need for meaningful discourse on topical issues through the Student Activism Speaker Series. Throughout the years, the Y has been on the forefront of social issues, helping students broaden their horizons. We continue to sponsor engaging cultural and educational opportunities, like WorldFest, the DC Science Policy Trip, India Cultural Trip, and the Advocating Change Together (ACT) Award.

social programs.png


In any given week during the school year, Caltech students volunteer their time and abilities to help those in need. The Y coordinates many of these efforts, matching students with community agencies where their skills can best be utilized.

Or largest service programs are the Rise Tutoring Program, Alternative Spring Break (ASB), Make-A-Difference (MAD) Day, and providing meals for Union Station Homeless Services. Tutoring middle and high school students through the Rise Program is a great way to get involved. ASB is a chance to get away during Spring Break and help others while you travel. Past sites have included Mexico, Catalina, and San Francisco. MAD Day is a one-day spring volunteer event where the Caltech community comes together to help local community organizations and families. Everyone who participates has a great time! Check our website for a full listing of volunteer opportunities.

Untitled collage.jpg


The Y hosts a variety of social activities to broaden your experience beyond Caltech. From movie nights to Explore LA, the Caltech Y knows the importance of fun outside the classroom. If outdoor adventure is your interest, check out all the Y has to offer. Explore a new adventure trail or National Park on one of many Y led outdoor trips throughout the year. Sign up for the ultimate kick-off to your Caltech experience: The Y-Hike to the California Sierras. This annual pre-orientation trip, our annual outdoor pre-orientation trip, is a great way to meet new students in a relaxed setting and have a great time in the outdoors. It is open to all new students regardless of ability. Look for an email announcement in July or check our website for more information.



In response to COVID-19, we organized new virtual activities and adapted existing programs to virtual formats to continue to create opportunities for students to share their interests and make a difference in their community. Students remotely tutored 6th-12th grade students, served their communities during Make-a-Difference (MAD) Weeks, joined thought-provoking talks through the Student Activism Speaker Series, contributed to the Caltech Y COVID Cookbook, and relaxed with online meditation classes. While we are hoping and planning to return to in-person programming, we will continue to offer virtual programs and activities if there is a need.


For a full listing of all we have to offer, including discount tickets sales, outdoor and AV equipment rentals, access to the Y lounge and more, click here.

To subscribe to our email list and receive a weekly digest email of upcoming Y activities, please click here.

Meet our President - Laura Hu

Welcome to Caltech! The Caltech Y is here to enrich your student experience and support your growth as an engaged citizen of the world. 


At the Y, you will find opportunities to gain perspective through travel, explore the outdoors, serve the community, and much more. Our programs have enabled students to experience cultural immersion in India, discuss international science policy in Geneva, camp in Yosemite, and volunteer at local schools.


We offer over 70 programs annually, including but not limited to, community service, outdoor adventures, cultural events, social activities, and international travel opportunities. We also offer a wide range of low-cost equipment rentals to Caltech community members, including outdoor gear, AV, and event equipment. Whether you are planning a day trip or a major expedition, we may have what you need!


We encourage you to check out the Y website to learn more about programs and offerings which may interest you. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and we hope to see you at a Y program soon!


If you'd like to find out more about the Caltech Y and how you can get involved, please email us at caltechy@caltech.edu or visit us in the Tyson House at 505 S. Wilson Ave, Pasadena (next to the Caltech Employees Federal Credit Union).


JJ, the Y dog, can't wait to meet you all and make new friends! 

Follow the Caltech Y on Facebook and Instagram!

facebook.com/caltechy  |  instagram.com/caltechy