Though the University offers over 25 program houses and halls for its students, David Thompson ’11 still felt that a widespread student interest—music—had been curiously ignored within the program house pool.
“One of the unique things about Wesleyan is the emphasis placed on artistic creation, so it’s really surprising that a house like this doesn’t exist yet,” Thompson said.
Now, Thompson—along with any other student who wants to create a new program house—has the chance to see his vision realized. Residential Life (ResLife) has identified several residences in its housing stock that it would like to turn into new program houses, and has opened the floor to the student body to suggest what the themes of these new houses will be. Students have responded with several concepts that may appear next semester as housing options.
A group of students, including Thompson, hope to propose a music house. If approved, the house would be a place where people could come together to create and appreciate music, as well as serve as a venue for musical performances.
Max Rothstein ’11, who also helped write the Music House proposal, says that such a house would truly represent the interest of the student body.
“A bunch of people thought it would be really appropriate to have a music house on campus,” Rothstein said. “We have a Sign House and no one’s majoring in sign language, so we should have a music house since people do major in music.”
Music House will hopefully occupy 202 Washington St.—one of the bigger houses being converted to program housing. However, Rothstein would be satisfied with any of the locations under consideration, including 316 Washington St., where he now lives.
Nathaniel Leich ’12 has proposed that Music House and Arts House — another student- suggested program house — combine to create a haven for all artists and art aficionados. He believes that combining all forms of art under one roof will foster both creativity and a synthesis of ideas.
“Basically, I would like to have a house which contains artists of all disciplines, as well as anyone with a great passion for the arts,” Leich wrote to the students who proposed the two houses. “Rather than having a number of houses which focus on the different subsets of the arts, I see an all-encompassing house as being ultimately more beneficial for the artistic community.”
Ali San Roman ’11 and Lila Becker ’12, meanwhile, are working to develop a house centered on a different art form entirely—the culinary arts. They recently proposed Full House, which would be devoted to cooking.
“The goals of Full House are to provide a place for Wesleyan students who enjoy cooking to meet and learn from each other, cook together, and live together; to further educate the Wesleyan community on different types of cuisine from a plethora of cultures; and incorporate the greater Middletown community in culinary endeavors,” Becker and San Roman wrote in the house’s proposed mission statement.
The house would hold open cooking nights, during which any student could pay to eat a dinner cooked by members of the house. Full House would also hold programs to teach students how to cook for themselves.
This collaboration between students and faculty to create more program housing began in October, when students were encouraged to meet with Dawn Brown, area coordinator for Program Housing, to learn about the application process. The process will continue until Dec.1, when students will present their final applications to the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee (URLC). Applications will be assessed on their ability to both generate interest within the student community and sustain itself beyond one academic year.
“I have met with members of various groups that want to propose new houses,” Brown said in an e-mail to The Argus. “These potential proposals range in everything from Music House to Writer’s House to a house focusing on peace and social justice and also a Christian House.”
Rothstein, for one, thinks the house he co-proposed would generate enough student buzz to be a success.
“We think there would be a lot of interest in [a music house],” he said.