For the past couple of weeks, the theme houses on campus have been heavily advertising their requests for applicants for the upcoming school year due to the lack of applications. What has been causing this disinterest in living in a theme house?
When asked what is keeping them from applying to the houses, many students expressed concerns with the cleanliness of the houses. The lack of upkeep and messy outlook due to the lack of housekeeping services is a component to the disinterest. Though the absence of professional housekeeping may be evident in some houses, it seems as though the cleanliness of a house is determined by the residence; it is only as clean as you make it. The lack of applicants could also be a reflection of the current first year class’s lack of involvement overall on campus.
In addition, students feel as though they will not fit into a given house’s atmosphere. This is due to its being too exclusive or because of the activities of the house on the weekends. The fear of bias or prejudice has also prevented students from applying. Some just may not be the party type and have heard that their prospective choice of theme house is too rowdy for their preference. First-year students bring up the point that they don’t want to live alone and surrounded by upperclassmen, as theme houses are different than dorms in which students can live with a chosen roommate or even a chosen group. In a house, however, it is unlikely that an entire group of students would get accepted at one time.
This semester, many theme houses have been prompted to extend the due dates on which their applications must be submitted. These houses include the Emerson House of Feminist Perspectives, Hungry Lyons and House of REPS (Residents Engaged in Political Science). Juan Fitch ’18, the president of SOHL House (Student Organization of Hispanics and Latinos), recognizes that the house must become more active on campus in order to increase awareness of itself. “SOHL regularly holds events during the weekends in order to increase our presence and raise interest for the house among our lower class-men,” said Fitch. “Holding these kind of events among our neighbors at TWAP [Together We All Prosper] has greatly eased the process to know our peers, making both houses become more popular, as everyone who visits both our houses will meet a member of the house.”
According to Julia Corey ’18, co-president of the House of REPS, “the house is working on not admitting exclusively political science majors and, instead, welcoming all interests into the house.” Corey continued to explain that the house is working to improve its image with a new Instagram account and a more active Facebook page.
The House of REPS has also reached out to the political science professors on campus to plan more house events. “We are proudly admitting students, outside of the political science majors, into the house!” Corey said, ensuring students that they do not need to fully identify with the theme of the house in order to fit into it.
Students are always welcome to come and tour a house in order to get a real feel for the comforting and inviting atmosphere it can offer.