Theme house communities are elements of our residential life program that have special connections to the educational program. In many cases they provide experiences that extend learning outside of the classroom and into the living environment. They may also complement the College's academic mission by providing opportunities to focus on an area of equity or social justice, and contribute to the intellectual environment in a different way. Theme house communities enable both majors and non-majors with an active interest in a field to live and learn together in a more independent residential setting.
Theme houses communities must meet residential as well as community standards in order to remain in good standing with the College. They may be suspended at the discretion of the Office of Residence Life. Updated, current proposals must be submitted the Department of Residence Life and be formally approved by the Associate Dean/Director of Residence Life on a yearly basis. Proposals must include the following:
- A statement of purpose that is grounded in an aspect of the College's academic mission.
- The commitment of an academic department or other office to support and monitor the program.
- A faculty adviser from the committed department/office that will actively advise and work with the community on behalf of the theme over the course of the year. The adviser should plan to attend several events or activities in support of the mission of the theme.
- A commitment to sharing the privilege of the house with others; communities should plan and sponsor lectures or receptions, provide tutoring on behalf of the department, or host a seminar discussion, for example.
- The house should have written procedures for selecting new residents. Each house must begin each semester at 100% occupancy and end the year at no less than 95%. Houses that are not maintained at this level will have their vacancies filled by the department of Residence Life, particularly following fall semester, in order to house students returning from off-campus study.
- The house must submit a roster of residents for the upcoming year. Rosters must be submitted according to dates established as part of the annual housing sign-up process.
- All housed communities are required to have named House Convener as the key liaison to Residence Life and the faculty advisor. Convener agree to attend convener training and convener meetings, and assist with check-in and check-out of residents. Changes to the named convener must be made in writing to Residence Life, and updated each semester.
- A year-end report/summary of house activities, successes and challenges to be submitted to Residence life by April 30 of each year.
Beginning in fall 2013, the Committee on Campus Life will begin reviewing Theme communities, and place the review process into a four year cycle. This will provide a mechanism for assessment and ensure that the current programs meet current student academic interests, contribute to a positive living and learning environment and live up to their stated mission and proposed activities.
To create a new theme house a department or group of students must fill out a “new theme house” proposal through the Department of Residence Life. No new Theme communities are being accepted for the 2013-2014 academic year, pending the establishment of review standards.