Interest houses are a type of housing at Carleton available to all students after their freshman year, during which staying in a dorm is mandatory. There are technically three types of interest houses: Shared Interest Living Communities (SILCs), institutional houses, and language houses. Up until 1996, all interest houses were SILCs.
Confusingly, most (though not all) interest houses have two names: One that uses the name of the interest, another that uses the name of the building. In other words, each interest house is located "in" an off-campus house (though not all off-campus houses are designated as interest houses; see: town house). For example, CANOE House and Seccombe House both currently refer to the same building, although Seccombe could be used by a different interest in the future. These terms are often used interchangeably.
|CANOE House||Seccombe House|
|Culinary House||Jewett House|
|Sustainable Living House||Farm House and Parr House|
|F.I.S.H. House||Douglas House|
|Green House||Geffert House|
|Sci-Fi House||Benton House|
|WHOA House||Chaney House|
Shared Interest Living Communities (SILCs) are the most common type of interest house at Carleton. Each year, SILCS are formed through a process designed to allow students with a common interest to stay together. It is also required that this interest allow the students to provide some benefit to the campus community as a whole. For example, Farm House provides organic dinners, Sci-Fi House hosts sci-fi movie and game marathons run by the SFA, and F.I.S.H. House holds events for the Christian community at Carleton. Many of these houses also host libraries of books and other materials that may be borrowed by any student.
SILCs must compete for new members, as their continued existence from one year to another is not guaranteed. If the house is unable to recruit enough people to fill it to capacity in the upcoming year, it risks being replaced by a new interest that receives wider support. The application process begins during Winter Term, and decisions are made several weeks before Room Draw. Thus, those who are accepted into an interest house do not have to go through the Room Draw process. Individual rooms within each house are allotted by the students living within them, who may use a seniority system or may simply reach a consensus.
|ASIA House||Hunt Cottage|
|Freedom House||Williams House|
|La Casa del Sol||Hall House|
|Dacie Moses House*||Dacie Moses House|
|Jewish House||Reynolds House|
|Q&A House||Prentice House|
|Multicultural Center||Stimson House|
|Women's Awareness House||Berg House|
|*Special status. See article.|
In 1997, a Task Force on Interest Houses was formed in reaction to Black House and Women's Awareness House not obtaining continued interest house status for the 1997-1998 school year. The housing policy was changed to guarantee the existence of these, and other, houses that exist for the purpose of establishing a cultural comfort zone for students. Currently, there are seven institutional houses for this purpose. The terms "cultural house" or "multicultural house" are generally used as synonyms for his type of house.
Dacie Moses House has special status that is equivalent for most purposes to that of an institutional house, in that it is permanent and is run by an administrative department. However, whereas the seven institutional houses are run by Multicultural Affairs, Dacie Moses House is run by Alumni Affairs. It hosts alumni and others, and students residing there are paid to provide hospitality.
The language houses were formed in 1996 in order to provide students with an environment in which they can communicate with others in a foreign language on a day-to-day basis. Events are also held in the houses, primarily for others who are studying that language. Unlike in SILCs, where the application process is handled by students, admissions to the language houses are controlled by the Language Departments.
Currently, the terms "language houses" and "Language House" are used interchangeably, because each language's "house" is actually a part of Parish House, the largest off-campus house owned by the college.