ResLife Calls for New Program House Proposals


The former Turath House

It’s official: ResLife is looking to create new program houses. This happens every couple of years, for one administrative reason or another. In 2008, ResLife called for proposals for new houses, and in January of 2009, Music House and Farm House were approved. Calls for proposals also occurred in the Fall of 2012, which led to the creation of Art House.

Lizzie Shackney ’17chair of the WSA Student Life Committee and co-chair of the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee (URLC) explains the general process:

Students or groups of students will fill out a proposal that includes a series of questions that we’ll all approve ahead of time. They also submit a list of 30 potential residents with contact information.

After that, URLC reviews the proposals, and students will have the opportunity to present their house ideas to the committee. We then deliberate and come to our decisions, which are informed by conversations with students and an understanding of the role that current program houses are playing on campus.

Additionally, current program houses will be given the opportunity to move to new locations. Program house proposals, for the most part, should be open to any potential residence and there’s no option to specify location.

Not that, in this process, completely new houses can be formed and existing houses can move to new spaces. The addresses being opened up for this round of proposals are 202 Washington Street (currently Recess House), Turath House (on Pearl St.), 34 Lawn Avenue (formerly Chinese House), and 230 Washington Street (currently Art House).

230 Washington Street is typically split into two houses, so it is likely that Art House will remain there, while another house might be added to the address. Chinese House and Turath House were not active this academic year due to lack of interest. Shackney stressed in an email that “program houses already residing in these spaces and who haven’t been as successful, or those who didn’t get enough applicants last year, will have the opportunity to apply as well.”

She also explains how the addresses are not the focus of the proposals. Students submitting proposals should know that the process is not such that you can pre-select a space, and simply be granted that space.

If you’re interested in submitting a proposal for a new house and don’t really check your email, here is a copy of Fran’s email from earlier today that includes the questions to be answered in each proposal:

I am happy to announce that the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee is accepting proposals for new program houses for the next academic year. To apply, answer the following questions and send to Fran Koerting at fkoerting[at]wesleyan[dot]edu along with a list of 30 names and signatures of students who are interested in living in the house, should it be approved. Please note that the university is not able to expand its Greek residential housing at this time.

Applications are due November 17, 2016. For assistance or more information, please contact one of the three Area Coordinators who work with programming housing: Brian Nangle (bnangle[at]wesleyan[dot]edu), Alexia Thompson(athompson[at]wesleyan[dot]edu) or Krystal Gayle O’Neill (koneill[at]wesleyan[dot]edu).

Questions to be answered in the application:

1. Name of house
2. Mission statement
3. Programming ideas: for campus, for house residents, and for the Middletown community
4. Why is this house important to the Wesleyan community?
5. How will you ensure that the house attracts a cross-section of the Wesleyan community?
6. How will you ensure that there will be long-term interest in the house?
7. Which faculty/staff member(s) have you identified to help support the mission of the house? What other campus resources, i.e. departments and/or offices, would this house be able to collaborate with?
8. How does this house complement the mission and celebration statement of Residential Life?
9. Any additional supporting information.

Of particular note is Koerting’s comment that Wesleyan will not be expanding its Greek residential housing options at this time.

This comment is especially interesting considering Fran Koerting‘s statement from last Spring in her announcement that Eclectic would be vacating 200 High Street to make way for Music House:

Music House (currently at 230 Washington Street) will relocate to 200 High Street for the coming year, which will enable 200 High to continue as a vital social space on campus. In the fall, I will work with the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee and the WSA to determine future use of the house.

For now, the question of the use of 200 High Street (currently Music House) for next year seems to be unanswered.

For reference, here is the membership of the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee, the body reviewing the proposals:

  • Francis Koerting (Director of ResLife)
  • Lizzie Shackney ’17 (Chair of Student Life Committee of the WSA)
  • Sharit Cardenas Lopez ’19 (HM of Sign Language House)
  • Owen Christoph ’18 (HM of Open House)
  • Chris Jackson ’20 (WSA)
  • Will Maldonado ’19 (WSA)
  • Henry Prine ’18 (WSA)
  • Brandon Sides ’18
  • Jeffrey Sweet (Physical Plant)
  • Alexia Thompson (Area Coordinator)

If past timelines are any indication, we will likely know the results of the proposal-review process sometime in January.

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3 thoughts on “ResLife Calls for New Program House Proposals

  1. no recess house?

    question: why was no possible explanation of the recess house situation listed here? the others are directly cited, is there something bigger with recess house?

    1. Elizabeth Shackney

      It’s a big house and is on Washington street (far) so it was hard to fill! Working w/ people who care about its functioning to create a new proposal.

  2. Able but not willing

    “Please note that the university is not able to expand its Greek residential housing at this time.”

    There must be a typo here. The university is more than able to expand Residential Greek life, they choose not too. It should say …the university doesn’t want to expand…

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