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Students Participate in Themed Housing Across Campus

Published on December 11, 2015

Students Participate in Themed Housing Across Campus

There is no doubt that on-campus housing has changed in recent years on college campuses. Compare the days when same-sex hallways, buildings and community bathrooms were the norm to today when apartment-style rooms are commonplace.  Eastern Connecticut State University has taken on-campus housing a step further with “themed housing” communities.

Themed housing allows students who want to live with other students who share similar interests to form housing communities.  The motto is, “Work Together, Play Together, Live Together.” Students pick a theme that interests them and then live with individuals who share that same interest. “I love having a community of like-minded thinkers with whom I can live, and to be surrounded by students who share the same values that I do,” said Emma Avery, environmental earth science major and a member of the Honors Themed Housing group.

In 2015-16, 218 students are participating in the 18 themes available. Students participating in themed housing gain leadership, academic and social skills. “Themed housing is a positive way for students to get involved because it brings together students with similar interests and ambitions while allowing them to live together,” said Lamar Coleman, director of housing and residential life. Students are required to participate in meetings, and run programs all while working with the larger community. Themed housing is a positive way for first-year and transfer students to find individuals on campus who share similar interests and develop lifelong friendships. “Engagement with the campus is directly tied to feelings of belongingness and student satisfaction,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Themed housing communities bring students together and involve them in fulfilling activities on-and-off campus.”

The 18 themes offered at Eastern range from “Fun and Gamers” to themes that have to do with real-world issues like the “Green Theme.” There is a variety of themes for students to choose from, giving every type of personality a chance to participate.

“The Math and Education Theme Housing community is in its second year and has 16 active members,” said Anthony Gleason, Laurel Hall director. “The members excel in the classroom and outside of class by being involved in clubs and organizations on campus and participating in community service and outreach in the local community.”

Civic and Community Engagement is the theme that has the most participants. 18 students live in Constitution and Laurel hall. The Civic and Community Engagement group is responsible for bringing students with an interest in community engagement and social justice together. These students examine global and local issues. They are required to develop and implement programs throughout the semester that address the needs of the Willimantic community.

“I feel themed housing is an incredible opportunity for students, especially those looking to make friends, create change and get more involved on campus,” said Garland Mann-Lamb ’16, a double major in sociology and women’s and gender studies.
Each theme gets a budget that they use for appropriate activities. For example, the “Fun and Gamers” group went to Comic-Con, which is a convention for comic fans. The budget gives each theme the ability to accommodate members so they are able to participate in activities of interest.

Eastern has taken a giant step toward getting students involved on campus and Themed Housing is an advancement that makes Eastern unique with one of the best on-campus residential housing programs in Connecticut.
“When I come home from class, I know I can knock on the doors of my fellow Leadership friends and be welcomed with a smile,” said Mann-Lamb. “We regularly have game nights, watch movies or have study parties. Although we all come from different majors and experiences, themed housing has brought us together to form lasting bonds.”

Written by Christina Rossomando

Categories: Housing