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2013 Winter Issue 2 (January 25, 2013)

Interest Housing Policy Changes, CANOE House To Find a New Home

January 25, 2013
By Katie Blansett and Maddie Crowell

Following the uproar that swept campus when the legendary CANOE house was not approved as a themed house, Residential Life (ResLife) is undergoing a year-long audit in an effort to improve its process of themed living spaces.

“Our method of selecting interest houses in the past has served the community well.  We felt it was appropriate at this time to review our process to see how it could be improved,” said Andrea Robinson, Director of Reslife.
The revision process will take a year to complete as ResLife audits the Housing Selection Advisory Committee (HSAC). As a result, ResLife will not be accepting new applications for the 2013-2014 school year.

All current interest houses will not have to reapply for the next school year, and CANOE will be placed in a new location.

No new houses will be considered.

“Over time, student interest changes, facilities change, etc, and therefore we felt a thorough review was needed to properly respond to those changes and needs.  We greatly look forward to working with the houses this year to assess those needs and discover ways to improve the system,” Robinson explains.

In the past, interest communities had to petition to Residential Life to prove why they needed a house to explore a common interest not available to them on campus and to establish goals that would be furthered in that context.  

While the policies and procedures vary from interest house to interest house, there was a substantial amount of autonomy in their admissions and programming. Operators of the houses determined their own success by self-evaluation, and at the end of each year, HSAC would conduct interviews and make recommendations to ResLife as to which communities should receive housing.

This application process could potentially change, but right now, the changes remain unknown.

“This year, the committee will work collaboratively with the houses to determine the needs of their community and assess the need to improve it for good of all the interest communities and future communities,” says Robinson.

ResLife does not yet have enough information to determine what the new application process will entail.
Restricted by physical space in the past, ResLife is also looking into ways to expand into the Northfield community, potentially giving rise to a greater number of interest houses.

Until next year, however, students desiring to establish new interest houses will have to wait a year or apply to an already-existent house if they wish to join a special community.

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