By Lauren Raziano, Web Production and Assist. Sports Editor
Starting in Fall 2022, there will be four new unique themed housing communities on campus, announced in a Residence Life email sent out to students in February.
AJ Goodman, the associate dean of students and director of residence life, is looking forward to this new personalized housing option for Manhattan College students.
“Themed Housing was created to give students options to live together around a shared identity, lifestyle, or interest. It is a housing option offered by many other colleges that allows for students to explore a topic in greater depth through the residential experience.” Goodman wrote in an email to The Quadrangle.
Stonewall Suites Theme Housing was the first addressed in the email.
“This community will serve as a supportive and welcoming environment for students who have an interest in being as inclusive as possible as it pertains to sexual orientation, gender identities and gender expression and would find comfort in living with others who have similar interests,” the Residence Life email wrote.
Second, the Arts Theme Housing will be for students who want to be engaged in the arts and creative opportunities on campus.
“This community will engage in a community that supports the unique needs of both performing and visual artists and their creative works. This community supports the philosophy that the arts are an essential part of a college experience,” the Residence Life email wrote. “Students within this community will be engaged in the vibrant arts community and take interest in forms of artistic expression and cultural opportunities.”
Global Connections Theme Housing is promoted to domestic and international students who want to share cultural experiences and learn about the global community.
“This community will welcome students who are passionate about exploring other cultures and sharing their own. This vibrant community will bring together domestic and international students to live with and learn from each other,” the Residence Life email wrote.
Global connections will also encourage students to join the study abroad programs.
“This community will also support Study Abroad programs and initiatives and students will explore how cultures intersect in the global community,” the Residence Life email wrote.
Healthy Living Theme Housing is focused on students who are interested in health and wellness.
“This community is ideal for students who are interested in learning about and participating in activities that will lead to healthier and happier lifestyles. Students will learn about nutrition, exercise/physical wellness, stress relief and one’s own health and wellness,” the Residence Life email wrote.
Madeline Addington, a sophomore marketing major, is intrigued about how the incoming freshmen will view this new themed housing.
“I think that “themed housing” is an interesting idea, but I really think that it only applies well to freshmen. It looks like its main purpose is to make it easier for people to create connections with others in their residence halls.” Addington wrote in an email to the Quadrangle.
Addington commented on how she thinks themed housing may be separating people and instead limit the opportunities people have to meet each other outside of their interests.
“By junior, senior and even sophomore year, most people already have a solid group of people that they know and an idea of what they value most at school,” Addington wrote. “A lot of upperclassmen do not need theme housing to have a certain lifestyle. The themed housing also separates people and one of the great things about living in a dorm is that you have the opportunity to meet people with all different types of personalities and interests.”
“I think theme housing will make it easier for people to connect with others that are similar to them, but they will not get to meet a lot of different types of people in their dorm halls because they chose to live in a place with people that share their same interests.”Addington wrote.
Zach Olivan, current vice president of residential affairs and a residence assistant in Horan Hall, has a positive outlook on themed housing and thinks that it will provide students with an already established common interest.
“When entering college, it may be difficult to immediately put yourself out there to make new friends, join clubs, and establish common interests with people,” Olivan wrote in an email to the Quadrangle. “Themed housing gives residential students an opportunity to immediately connect through common interest and develop a sense of community on their floor.”
Olivian wrote that themed housing will strengthen the friendships within the Manhattan College community as students will be more comfortable to share their interests.
“Not only will it allow students to share a deeper common interest, it will allow for the expansion, creation and formation of new ideas to help the Manhattan College community grow as a whole,” Olivan wrote. “As I say, ‘great minds do not think alike, they think together.’ Now, although themed housing students have similar interests, they all may not think the same, but this new opportunity will allow students to come together more than ever before.”
Olivian is hopeful that themed housing will succeed and have a positive impact on future students.
“This will have a major impact on future students,” Olivan wrote. “Students who are struggling to transition into college due to how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their adolescent experience will now have an opportunity to find common ground once more. It will allow future students the space to think creatively, dynamically, and individually, all while enjoying the benefits of living on campus and exploring other interests.”
The Arches Living and Learning community will still remain as an option for students who are not interested in themed housing but still want an opportunity to connect with others within their dorm and classroom. Arches students typically live on a few floors together in Lee Hall and take one class each semester of their freshman year that engages them in community learning opportunities.
“The Arches [program] will remain in place and we hope that our first year students will take that option. Theme Housing is different from the Arches in that there are no classes required for participation.” Goodman wrote.
Although Olivan is graduating, he is looking forward to how themed housing may impact how it will impact the campus community.
“I am happy to see Manhattan College Residence Life moving in this direction,” Olivan wrote. “I have seen how the benefits of themed housing can have a resounding impact on other campuses, and I am thrilled to know that we, as a campus community, are moving in the right direction.”
Goodman is also looking forward to this unique step forward in the Residence Life housing.
“I am excited to see what the Theme Housing program can be here to give students additional options to consider when they are choosing where to live.” Goodman wrote.