Application for service houses changes

Bijeta Lamichhane

News Editor

Several changes have been put forward in the application process for on-campus service houses this year. One of the most significant alterations is that students will no longer be able to apply to live in these houses as a group. Instead, they can either apply to live in a service house on an individual level or with a roommate. The change does not apply to students already living in service houses, and the residents do not have to reapply on an individual level to live in their houses.

After changes were officially announced via email on Jan. 13, students — most of whom live in service houses — have made comments about how these changes may potentially affect their plans to live in houses. Marian Overfield ’22, a resident of Johnson House, expressed her concern regarding the new regulation put forward, stating, “I feel like [the application change] will discourage students from applying.” She continued, “As living in a house is only an option for upperclassmen, many of whom already have solid connections and friendships with people, they would be much less likely to apply to live in such close quarters to people they might not know.”

However, according to the Director of Resident Life Nathan Fein, most of the students have been in favor of bringing this change. “After we made the announcement to the students, we allowed for an open comment period from current members of the houses,” Fein explained. “The majority of the feedback we received was positive.” He also mentioned that students’ advice has been taken into consideration and incorporated into the new application process to better suit the need of the residents. “We got helpful suggestions that we have incorporated into the process,” Fein said. “The students wanted to provide perspective during the interview process. The concerns were both around finding the right fits for the organizations they were serving as well as living within a house environment. To address this, we will have a current member of the house as part of the interviews. We are also incorporating questions during the interview about being part of a house community and how someone will take on those responsibilities.”

Noah Crane ’21, who lives in Shearer House, also expressed his support for the new housing application process. “I think that, although it is a great deal of change, the decision to eliminate group housing applications and initiate the grandfather process will lead to more agency for students who want to reap the benefits of volunteering through Wooster Volunteering Network,” Crane said. “The process will allow students to volunteer and be rewarded with a different form of living space, without having to be affiliated with a group. However, the most important part of this process will be giving the current house members agency in the selection of new house members. The service houses have both a volunteering aspect and a community aspect, and both aspects must be taken into consideration, or else the students and the community partners will not be happy with these changes.”

In addition to changing the housing application process, the College will not be adding new community partners either. Fein said that this decision was made to prioritize the students as well as to cater responsibly to their current community partners. “We want to make sure we are providing the best possible experience to our students,” he Members of the campus community, including President Sarah Bolton, engage in discussion during a justice dialogue titled “Antisemitism in America: Its Roots to Now and Its Impact on Wooster Jews.” It was presented by students on the executive board of Hillel. (Photo from wooster. edu) Photo of the Week stated. Fein added, “We also have an obligation to our community partners. It would not be advantageous to take on new programs while we are making these changes. We are open to adding more organizations in the future, but we want to make sure we are doing our best work for both groups before we expand the program.”

The application for living in a service house is due on Feb. 2.