The Office of Residential Life has recently introduced Recess House, a new program house available to all students. Beginning this semester, students will be able to apply to live in the house for the Fall of 2014. The house will occupy 202 Washington Street, the space that is currently occupied by Writing House.

The website for the Office of Residential Life describes the purpose of the house.

“Recess House is our new community based living option and is for students who know they will need housing for winter break,” reads the Residential Life website. “While this is guaranteed break housing, members of the house will be expected to attend programs and other sponsored events to build a community.”

Earlier this year, the University made the decision to move Writing House to 156 High Street next fall to create a writing hub.

The house will be open to sophomore, junior, and senior residents. All program houses have their own mission statement with respective activities. Due to the wide variety of program-oriented housing, students are given the opportunity to become involved in a specific area of interest within their living arrangements.

Assistant Director of Residential Life Stacey Phelps described the need for a living space like Recess House on campus.

“We received feedback this past winter break from students who could not go home over winter break for family or financial reasons,” Phelps said. “They asked us to designate space that would be open for the entire winter break. When the space opened on 202 Washington Street, we thought it would be a great place to create this new community-based living option that was based on student feedback.”

Similar to other community-based living houses, students living in Recess House will be required to attend programs and sponsored events relevant to the theme of the house. The community advisors and residents will determine the type of programs that take place.

“We do not want this community to be just about housing over winter break,” Phelps said. “We want them to come together like our other [community-based living houses] such as Quiet Floor, Substance Free [Floor], and single-sex floors.”

Phelps also explained the benefits of this new housing option.

“We will be happy to receive any applications as this house will really provide a service to our students that need to be here over break, including our large international student population,” Phelps said. “We received six applications, and five of the applications were complete.”

Phelps added that because this is the first year that this new living arrangement will be presented, the Office of Residential Life expects a smaller number of student applications.

Students will be able to apply to Recess House during the open bid periods.

Aimee Wilkerson ’17 commented on the advantages of the new living arrangement.

“Although [Recess House] does not affect me because I live on the East Coast, I think it is great idea, especially for the international students at Wesleyan,” Wilkerson said. “These students probably find it hard getting home during the breaks and this is a great opportunity for them to have a definitive place to stay during those times.”

Angus Kan ’17, an international student from Hong Kong, explained that he did not go back to Hong Kong this past winter break. Instead, he stayed with a family member in the United States because it was easier than going home.

“I know a friend who stayed on campus during winter break,” Kan said. “His staple was macaroni and cheese. I’m surprised he survived. Having a Recess House on campus with dining and other necessary services is definitely a great idea.”

Vaan Taepaisitphonge ’17, an international student from Thailand, added that she is considering applying to Recess House. She, too, finds many advantages to this housing option.

“I think it’s a great way for students to make friends that they share interests with,” Taepaisitphonge said. “Also by living with people that they can connect with might provide them with support and comfort.”

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