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 a more intimate residential setting. The selection process during spring semester determines assignments for the following academic year. There are two categories of houses:
Criteria for acceptance into the Asian Studies, French, German, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish and Diversity Awareness houses are established by the appropriate academic departments. Please contact the specific language department to find out about their appplication process.
Special Interest Houses
A group of students may apply for a house to serve as a living/learning experience that will have a special focus (i.e. women’s concerns, international issues, environmental issues). Groups applying for a special interest house must submit an application to the residence life office and will be required to go through a careful selection process.
Current House Project List
Here is a list of the projects that will exist for the 2014-2015 Academic Year:
- Mental Health & Spiritual Awareness – The goal of this house is to provide a calm environment for students on campus, de-stigmatize mental illnesses, and provide outreach to Northfield High School for community service opportunities surrounding college prep and mental health.
- 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.
- International House – This is a group of students that represent 17 nationalities and every major religion of the world. They are committed to bridging the gap between domestic and international students and provide an atmosphere where international students can comfortably socialize.
- “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 opportuntiies 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 Edward Said House - This house is named after researcher Edward Said who worked to detach the stigma associated with the geographical region of “The Orient” (also known as the Middle East). This group of students would like to bring different perspectives to the St. Olaf community regarding this region.
- The Poetry House - This year the Poetry House is being hosted by women, providing a particular focus on women artists and will serve as a central location for creative minds to meet on campus. They also provide great mentoring and assistance to the Northfield Key, holding creative writing, poetry, and other workshops for the students there.
- 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.
- Lifetime Wellness House – The goal of this group is to provide students with opportunities to develop healthy habits that they can use for the rest of their lives, focusing on the three dimensions of physical, social, and and mental wellness. They will also be volunteering with the Northfield YMCA.
- 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.
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.
Applying to Live in an Honor House
Students who are interested in living in an Honor House for 2015-16 must complete an application and go through an interview process. More details will be available during interim.