Theme Houses

For years Bates has offered the opportunity for students to engage in theme house living, in which students propose a topic for a compelling living-learning environment.  Approved proposals are assigned a residential building where the students reside for the year in order to explore the chosen topic in depth.  In theme houses, students espouse to live the experience of their theme in practical terms, with an expectation of sponsoring events to share their knowledge so that the entire community can benefit.

Information on Theme Houses

Are there the same theme houses every year?
No, theme houses can change every year. Current theme houses have the ability to reapply with the same theme as long as they are in good standing. Students propose and coordinate all theme houses. The physical location of each theme house can also change.

Do you need to complete a HouseCat application if you are interested in living in a theme house?
Yes, all students taking classes in the fall semester, whether they plan to be living off-campus, or on-campus in a theme house, suite, or any other type of housing must complete an application via HouseCat.

I am interested in living in a theme. How should I find out what options will be available?
Theme House Coordinators will be looking to make potential rosters in February. They will advertise in Bates Today and on campus.  You may also propose a new theme house if there is a theme you are passionate about. Contacting current theme house coordinators and class Facebook pages are also a great source of information.

Can I live in a Theme House when I come back from abroad or a leave?
Theme House Coordinators often have a preemptive roster for the winter semester that accounts for students that are planning to go abroad. You should contact coordinators is they have spaces available. Any student living on campus in the fall, who changes their study abroad will remain in their current rooms for the remainder of the academic year with the affected returning students housed through the winter housing process.


]Theme House Process Dates

Monday, February 3, 2020 All On-Campus Housing Applications open via HouseCat. All students must fill this out for fall housing. Proposal information available at the Office of Residence Life and Health Education and online
Friday, February 14, 2020 Proposals are due at 4:00 p.m.
Week of February 17, 2020 Proposal acceptances sent via email to coordinators
Friday, February 28, 2020 Resident assignments and contracts due from coordinators at 9:00 a.m. Coordinators must make sure every individual on the roster has filled out HouseCat application

Information for Theme House Proposals

How do I propose a new Theme House?
Please use the Theme House Proposal Template for information on submitting an abstract and then a complete theme house proposal. We encourage you to expand upon this template.

What’s the role of Theme House Coordinators?
The Theme House Coordinators are responsible for programming, community standards, coordinating with Residential Fellow, and filling the house roster. The Theme House Coordinator Expectations outlines the expectations and responsibilities for this role.

What’s the role of the Residential Fellow?
Student proposals for Theme Houses are required to have a faculty or staff liaison, to lend expertise to the topic and help guide the work of the students in the house. The Residential Fellow Agreement outlines the expectations and responsibilities for this role.

When will we know if our house is approved and what building we have received?
The coordinators will be notified of the status of your proposal via email during the week of February 17th, 2020.

Additional Theme House Coordinator Information

Assigning Rooms
If a theme house is approved, coordinators will be given a floor plan to make a finalized roster of the names of all residents who will be living in the house and the specific rooms they will occupy.

  • Coordinators must fill every space in the house.
  • Each resident will need to sign an agreement to fulfill the requirements for the house and to agree to reside in their assigned room number for the semester at a minimum.
  • Students are not allowed to move rooms within a theme house during the year.
  • If you are unable to find enough people to live in the house at any time after your theme is approved, then your house may be revoked.
  • All students must complete an application via HouseCat in addition to being included on the roster.
  • After the final list of residents for your Theme House is submitted, any student listed as a member of that house will automatically be removed from all housing room selection processes and be manually slotted into the spaces you have designated. Please communicate this to all residents of the house.

Dissolving of Theme House
The Office of Residence Life and Health Education reserves the right to revoke an approved Theme House upon consultation with the Residential Fellow for reasons including lack of interest in the theme, violations of the Code of Student Conduct, disruption to the community, or failure to fulfill all meeting/programming requirements.