Theme Houses

The application process for Academic Year 2023-2024 is now open! Read on for more information about Theme Houses and to find out how to apply! 

Bates offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in Theme House living. Theme Houses are small residential communities guided and united by a particular topic or shared interest. Students propose a topic for a compelling living-learning theme in our application process.

Approved proposals are then assigned a residential building (typically a small house on Frye Street) where the students reside for the next academic year in order to explore the chosen topic in depth. In Theme Houses, students strive to live out their theme in practical terms and to share their theme with the community. Theme House Coordinators (those who submit the application and volunteer to lead the Theme House) share the expectation that they will sponsor events to share their knowledge, curiosity, and passion with others 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 House. 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 around campus. If you would like us to share your contact information with folks submitting a Theme House Application, you can complete the interest form below.

Theme House Interest Form

Can I live in a Theme House when I come back from abroad or a leave?
Theme House Coordinators are responsible for filling the house for both the fall and winter semesters. Coordinators will track residents who plan to go abroad for one semester and will fill those spaces accordingly. Please contact the Coordinator(s) for your preferred Theme House to see if any spaces are available. Any student living on campus in the fall who changes their study abroad will remain in their current room for the remainder of the academic year with the affected returning students housed through the winter housing process.

Theme House Process Dates

Thursday, January 26, 2023 Theme House Applications open
Mid to Late February 2023 On-Campus Housing Applications open via HouseCat. All students must fill this out for fall housing.
Friday, February  17, 2023 Proposals are due at 12:00 p.m. (Noon)
February Break (20-24th 2023) Proposal decisions sent via email to coordinator applicants
Friday, March 3, 2023 Resident assignments and contracts are due from coordinators by 2:00 p.m. Coordinators must ensure every individual on the roster has filled out the HouseCat application.

Information for Theme House Proposals

How do I propose a new Theme House?
Please use the Theme House Proposal Template to prepare your application. When you feel ready to submit, your application can be completed by submitting the proposal form below.

Submit a Theme House Proposal

What’s the role of Theme House Coordinators?
The Theme House Coordinators are responsible for fostering community, programming around the chosen theme, upholding community standards, coordinating with the 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 require a faculty or staff liaison to lend expertise to the topic and help guide the work of the students in the house. The Theme House 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 20-24, 2023.

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 agree to reside in their assigned room number for the fall 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.
  • Theme House Coordinators must provide an updated roster by December 1st that captures any abroad, leave, etc students between semesters.
  • 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 Houses
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.

Theme Houses for 2022-2023

Intercultural Diversity

Coordinators: Giancarlo Carlucci and Joel Hallkaj
Residential Fellow:
James Reese, Associate Dean of Students for International Student Programs
Pierce House

This house advocates for building a comprehensive supportive community system for
international, first-generation, and the overall student community at Bates College. The aim is to
continue to serve as a space for the college population to engage in insightful conversations
about diversity, citizenship, and intercultural experiences.

Based on the principles of antiracism, anti-xenophobia, diversity, inclusion, and access, this
house has been a space that will continue to work as a host to a school-wide conversation
about decolonization, a process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and
privilege of Western thought and approaches.

In our first year as a theme house, we were able to offer a popular space on Frye Street for
international and domestic students to convene and have impactful conversations. Stories were
shared about similarities and differences, curiosities were piqued and friendships were formed.

Environmental Justice through Film

Coordinators: Hannah Simmonds and Garrett Glasgow
Residential Fellow:
Tyler Harper, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Chase House

The purpose of the house is for residents to collaborate and engage with one another in promoting
productive and equitable dialogue on various environmental justice issues, especially through viewings and discussions of films and media pertaining to said issues. The goal of these discussions is to further our mutual understanding of and engagement with environmental issues such as climate change, environmental racism, animal rights, land use, sustainability, technology, natural disasters, among others. We will collaborate to host community film viewings followed by discussions led by house residents.