One of the unique aspects of Wheaton Residential Life is Theme Housing. As you may have heard, there is a new theme house on campus this year, and it is one that wants to welcome everyone with open arms. MAD House has been referred to as “Film House,” but it is much more than that. MAD stands for Media Amelioration and Discernibility, which other than having good SAT vocabulary potential, means improving the awareness and understanding of media, along with promoting the positive aspects of it. As Carolyn Hauk ‘15, MAD House co-founder and co-president said, “Media in America has a bad reputation; we’re trying to change that negative connotation on Wheaton’s campus.”
Film and New Media Studies is a new, interdepartmental major. Carolyn and her housemates believe that the program doesn’t get enough recognition on campus, and that having a House involved with the program will help to increase both awareness of the Film and New Media program and the ability to collaborate with other houses, clubs, majors and professors on campus. Right now, MAD is collaborating with Professor Drout, who teaches the J.R.R. Tolkein class (author of The Lord of the Rings), to present each film in the trilogy on consecutive nights, followed by a talkback at the House on the fourth night.
MAD House wants to focus on including everyone on campus in media. This semester, they’re collaborating with Dean Kate McCaffrey and TWAP to produce a video on sexual assault, raising awareness from the male perspective. Carolyn has also spoken to Professor Karen McCormack about her Media and Society course, for which students must go 48 hours without media. Media has become not only a major part of day-to-day life, but for most people, a vital one. Carolyn plans to make this a campus-wide event, as media affects everyone. MAD House is planning this now, and hopes to collaborate with the library and dining halls, along with other buildings, to host media-free events during the 48 hours of media-less life.
Soon, MAD House will be getting a new addition: a screen placed above the fireplace. This screen provides the opportunity for many screenings and events to be held in the House. President Hanno is collaborating with the House as well, planning a film screening outside the house, open to everyone.
MAD House is a place for anyone who enjoys media, along with events and programming that consistently reinforce media. The five residents of MAD House are all seniors, and will be looking for five new members for the 2015-2016 year. A big aspect of the house is inclusion. This doesn’t just apply to different mediums or clubs to collaborate with, but members as well. You do not have to be a Film and New Media Studies major to live in the house, but you do need to be willing to work hard to maintain the house and its responsibilities. Carolyn Hauk referred to the House in her interview as “our 24/7 deal with the student body.” Due to how hard the Film and New Media Studies faculty work on the program, these students feel that it deserves not only more recognition, but also more involvement campus-wide. Don’t be afraid to get involved, and become a part of the MADness!