For the first time ever, the Office of Residential Life is offering theme houses a chance to solidify their mission and goals through an initiative that is being referred to as a trial house or incubator suite.
Lyndsey Aguilar, interim housing operations coordinator, credits the concept of this initiative to the Theme House Selection Committee. The selection committee is made up of professional staff and students with various perspectives and backgrounds. Aguilar says that the selection committee is excited to implement this initiative because they want to give theme houses the opportunity to develop. In the past, theme house proposals and renewal applications would either be approved or rejected by the selection committee.
“Theme houses are an important part of campus life, and college is a time where students can make mistakes and learn from them. The incubator suites allow those groups to potentially grow into powerhouse themes, so there is definitely a lot of excitement as we implement this initiative,” Aguilar said.
This initiative applies to proposed new theme houses as well as already established theme houses. Tony Galvan ‘19, a Lead Residential Advisor (RA) and member of the Theme House Selection Committee, says that if it is determined that an established theme house “could use some time to revisit its current mission statement and restructure its organization,” it may also qualify for the incubator suite option. However, it is up to the theme house executive board to decide if they want to pursue that opportunity.
Aguilar says that trial houses “are still expected to uphold the Wheaton’s community standards, as well as those outlined in the Theme House handbook.” She also points out that trial houses will not be required to host as many campus events as approved theme houses because the selection committee wants trial houses to “focus on strengthening their theme.”