The Commons System at Southern Methodist University was established in August 2014, however the planning began almost a decade earlier. The system is based off of the Oxford University Residential College System, which was established nearly 1,000 years ago. At SMU the 11 Residential Commons aim to build a community among students, staff, and faculty as they live, work, and study together both inside and outside the Commons. The physical building of each Commons serves as a home-away-from-home where students can get to know one another and have a sense of belonging. The Commons consist of students at all grade levels who are studying a number of different disciplines. Each Commons has it's own crest, motto, and traditions.
The Commons System has a student-run central governing body known as the HUB (Housing Unification Board). The HUB oversees numerous Common wide events and initiatives, along with serving as an advocacy board for residential students. In addition to the HUB, each Commons has a Commons Council that is comprised of elected and appointed residents that serve the residents of their individual commons.