Honor Houses

The Mission of the Honor Houses

The college maintains 19 campus houses that are available for upper-class student housing. These houses provide students with alternative opportunities to explore and develop interests and personal relationships through an intimate residential setting. It is the goal of Residence Life to address a diverse array of topics and needs for the St. Olaf community with a focus on social justice and service. There are two categories of houses:

  • Academic Houses – Criteria for acceptance into the Asian Studies (Chinese & Japanese), French, German, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish and Diversity Awareness houses are established by the appropriate academic departments. These house focus on language fluency, study tables, immersive experiences, and campus programming. Please contact the specific academic department to find out about their application process.
  • Special Interest Houses – Groups of 5-10 upper-class students may apply for an honor house. Residence Life seeks to promote ideas that focus on topics of interfaith, cultural awareness, community outreach, wellness, and institutional mission. Selected groups will be asked to present their idea to a panel. Finalists will be invited to select a house based on their group’s size.

Applying to Live in an Honor House

Students who are interested in living in an Honor House for 2016-17 must complete an application and go through an interview process. Applications may be found here.

Selection Timeline:

  • February 26, 2016 – Honor House Application Due (NOON)
  • March 3-4, 2016 – Honor House Presentations
    • 20 minute presentation
    • Presenters must include the president and up to 4 additional house members
    • Not all applications will be selected to present
  • March 7, 2016 – Honor House Selections Made
    • Not all applications will be selected to live in a house


Current House Project List

  • Women Inspiring STEM Education House – The goal of this house, while self-explanatory, is to provide the Northfield community and St. Olaf students with programs that encourage women in science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • Wendell Berry House – One of our longest-standing projects, the Wendell Berry House’s mission is to build community through sustainable food. Through their events they would like to promote sustainable food choices that set an example of how humans and the environment can exist together in harmony.
  • One Degree: Cancer Awareness & Support House  This is a group of students dedicated to providing education to campus about cancer prevention and providing support to individuals affected by cancer.
  • “The Table” House – The Table is a program that encourages intentional dialogue across cultural backgrounds using food as an unbiased cultural medium. These students will also be volunteering at the Northfield Community Action Center food shelf.
  • The Catholic House – The Catholic House provides opportunities to facilitate ecumenical discussions among students on campus and provides unity for the many different Christian organizations on campus. This group of students also provides invaluable mentoring and volunteering to St. Dominic’s Church, particularly in the form of their involvement with Wednesday Night’s Faith Formation classes.
  • The Muslim House – This house is meant to provide a much needed source of education and outreach regarding Islam and its teachings. The participants of this house intent to create an inviting environment meant to encourage dialogue and dispel incorrect assumptions about Muslims.
  • St. Olaf Queer Support & Outreach House – This house provides a safe space for students who need support and provides education to campus around gender identity.
  • Gender Equity & Empowerment House – The group of students in this house partners with many other on campus organizations such as GLOW, SARN, and the Gender & Sexuality Center. They would like to empower and challenge their fellow Oles to engage in conversations that validate and question contemporary concepts of gender and gender equality.
  • Creativity for Community – This group of students works with both young kids and the Northfield retirement community, using creative projects to build community with both groups. This year they are volunteering with the A+ Art Club (children on the Autism Spectrum), the Millstream Commons, and the Northfield Retirement Community.
  • Thinking Globally, Acting Locally – This group works with admissions and the international studies office to assist students coming back from abroad while also encouraging students to go abroad.


College houses are equipped with basic kitchen appliances and furniture. Partial custodial service is also provided. The houses are considered extensions of the residence hall system and all college policies apply. Residents of these houses have the opportunity to elect a full or a partial board plan. Residents of honor houses are not eligible for Interim room rebates or manufactured room rebates.