Community and Traditions
Traditions are fundamental to building vibrant House communities. From icy plunges into Lake Michigan to House mascots and birthday traditions, Houses develop distinct traditions that help to define who they are and what they value doing together.
Many Houses compete with one another in intramural (IM) sports, which range from inner-tube water polo to ultimate frisbee. The House with the most victories by June claims the coveted Maroon Cup.
The Houses are also known for their fervent participation in University-wide events such annual events as the Homecoming Banner Competition, Kuvia, and Scav Hunt. Wherever there is a friendly competition on campus, you can count on finding our Houses there.
On the community level House events often include study breaks, gathering for s’mores at the Point, bonfires, barbeques, guests lectures, restaurant trips downtown, Super Bowl parties, community service outings, Scrabble tournaments, movie nights, and trips to Chicago’s world-class performance venues.
The sense of community fostered within the Houses encourages civic responsibility and community awareness amongst the residents. This sense of community is encouraged and maintained by the Resident Heads (RHs) and Resident Assistants (RAs) who represent the identifiable House leadership within each community (see more comprehensive definitions below). RHs support and supervise RAs in their daily actions as peer leaders within their communities.
The Resident Deans act as intellectual stewards for their cluster of Houses. They work in tandem with RHs and RAs to provide residents with an experience outside of the classroom that is both complementary and valuable to their continued intellectual and personal growth as young scholars.
Assistant Directors of Residence Life (ADs) from the Housing & Residence Life main office supervise and provide support to the resident staff in each Hall and help to address any community/resident issues as they arise. ADs also serve as the primary contact for parents who may have concerns or information to share about their student, allowing RHs and RAs to preserve a trust relationship with their residents who more readily engage with their resident staff in times of crisis. Resident Hall Managers (RHMs) support resident staff and students as they encounter building issues within the Hall and ensure that the physical plant persists as a safe, functional and welcoming space for community life.
Resident Deans are senior faculty who live in the Residence Halls, often with their families. As the intellectual stewards for residence, they organize events and activities that engage students outside of the classroom and stimulate learning and community awareness across the Houses in their Hall.
Resident Deans fulfill their mandate by providing a rich program of social and cultural events that often include guest lectures and discussions with luminaries from across campus and public life, dinners, special residence hall special, and outings to the symphony, theater, opera or sporting events. Resident Deans are appointed by the Dean of the College.
Resident Heads are individuals or couples who have a primary connection to the University as a faculty member, advanced graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. or professional degree, or an administrative staff member. They occupy dedicated apartments in the 39 Houses, where they help create communities and make themselves available to students for guidance and support.
Each House has at least one Resident Head; most Houses have Resident Head couples. Resident Heads have direct, daily contact with residents. They live in the halls year-round, and many have children and/or pets. As active participants in House life, they assist undergraduates in developing residential communities that provide an environment conducive to rigorus study, rest, recreation and the development of healthy human relations. They offer adult guidance and support to individual students, and serve as responsible stewards of their House community. Additionally, Resident Heads, in collaboration with elected student House Councils, plan and carry out a variety of stimulating intellectual, cultural, recreational, social, and informational activities.
Resident Assistants (RAs) are 3rd or 4th year upperclass students. Each House has at least one RA, although larger Houses may have two. RAs assist the Resident Heads in maintaining community standards, host study breaks and movie nights, organize House trips, and provide a peer resource for residents. Many RAs have been active in campus life and can readily suggest advisers, popular courses and faculty, campus resources, and extracurricular opportunities suited to newer residents’ interests.
Residential dining is a cornerstone of community life within the House communities. House tables, located in the home Dining Commons, represent an authentic extension of community space.
All residents are assigned a meal plan that allows each resident to access their home Dining Commons and are encouraged to connect with friends from their community for a meal or snack as their academic schedule allows.
Resident Heads and Resident Assistants eat meals with their communities at their House tables and are happy to engage with this additional opportunity to connect and check-in with their residents. For a list of community dining assignments, please refer to the boxes to the right.
Arley D. Cathey Dining Commons
Informally referred to as Cathey, this Dining Commons is located at 6025 S. Ellis Avenue and is the home Dining Commons for the following communities:
Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons East
Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons West
Bartlett Dining Commons
Informally referred to as Bartlett, this Dining Commons is located at 5640 S. University Avenue and is the home Dining Commons for the following communities:
Max Palevsky Residential Commons
Stony Island Hall
- Stony Island
Frank and Laura Baker Dining Commons
Informally referred to as Baker, this Dining Commons is located at 5500 S. University Avenue and is the home Dining Commons for the following communities:
Campus North Residential Commons
- Dougan Niklason
- Vue 53
House and Residence Hall Councils
Each year or quarter, students elect House and/or Hall Councils to oversee event planning, fundraising, plan trips, and discuss important House/Hall issues. All Houses have a weekly House meeting, used to inform students of current events, present items discussed in Inter-House Council (IHC) meetings, and discuss concerns raised by House residents. House Councils are advised by the Resident Heads (RHs) and supported by the RAs.
Residence Halls with several Houses assemble Hall Councils. These Councils work with the Resident Deans to plan events, and review issues relevant to residents of the hall. Along with an executive council, representatives are elected from each House. These representatives may also serve on their own House Councils.
Inter-House Council (IHC)
IHC is a representative body composed of a group of residents from each House. IHC is made up of a nine person Executive Committee, a representative from each House in the system, and a Student Government representative. IHC members are student leaders who advise Housing & Residence Life on a range of policy and programming issues presented by the administration, staff, or students. Students from IHC sit on University committees due to their access to information about the desires of the undergraduate population living in the residence halls. The standing advisory committees include:
- Campus Dining Advisory Board (CDAB)
CDAB is comprised of appointed student representatives from IHC and Student Government. They provide feedback and guidance about decisions regarding dining on campus – the residential dining commons, as well as the campus markets and cafes. CDAB typically meets 2-3 times per quarter.
- Transportation and Security Advisory Board (TSAB)
TSAB, chaired by representatives from Student Government provides a channel for students to continually evaluate campus transportation and security systems. Students work with Transportation and Parking Administration on a variety of issues including the NightRide program, daytime shuttles, and CTA routes. The group meets approximately two times per quarter.
- Housing Facilities Advisory Board (HSFAC)
HSFAC is comprised of four appointed student representatives from IHC. They provide feedback and guidance about residence hall building facility and operations issues and concerns. HSFAC meets 2-3 times per quarter.
Occasionaly ad-hoc committees have been formed to discuss pressing IHC concerns. In the past, ad-hoc committees have included the Gender Neutral Housing (Open Housing) Committee, the Lottery Booklet Committee, and the Study Abroad Committee.
IHC sponsors several events throughout the year to help strengthen community, and competition, amongst the Houses. These events range from Tug-of-War during Homecoming Weekend, to a campus-wide pajama party, to Family Feud with the final being played at Summer Breeze each May.
IHC meets every Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the private dining room in Baker Dining Commons.
Housing Activities Resources Council (HARC)
In Fall 2016, the Housing Activities Resource Council (HARC) merged with Inter-House Council (IHC). HARC is now known as the IHC Finance Committee. The purpose of HARC is to disburse funds to events that promote social interaction between residence halls. HARC was created by Housing & Residence Life to subsidize events involving two or more Houses from different residence halls. HARC board representatives are chosen from each Hall Council. HARC meets during the 3rd, 6th, & 9th Weeks of Fall & Winter Quarters, and during the 3rd, 5th, 7th Weeks of Spring Quarter, to hear, discuss, and vote on proposals for funding. Students planning events with opportunity for involvement from different residence halls are encouraged to apply for HARC funding.
HARC proposals are submitted electronically. Students must apply for HARC funding at least two weeks before the date of the event. After the deadline, students who still wish to propose must receive consent from the President.
Please visit the HARC website for more information and to review the HARC handbook.