Traditional college dorms aren’t for everyone. They’re noisy, crowded, and if you don’t like your neighbor, then for the most part, tough luck.
The affinity housing program at McDaniel provides a unique living experience for groups of students with mutual interests. Students can live together while sharing a mutual commitment to pre-determined criteria. This can involve anything from community service to educational programming.
Out of the many affinity living options here, the most recognizable ones are language houses such as the French House, Spanish House and German House.
One of the benefits, or to some people, drawbacks, of living in these language houses is the requirement to communicate only in that language, therefore removing English as an option. If that sounds too intimidating for you, you’re welcome to join other houses with students with similar interests that aren’t limited to languages.
Junior, Catherine Frondorf, who currently resides in the Spanish house on Pennsylvania Avenue, says the best way of describing affinity housing is “kind of like a sanctuary.”
“I like not being around 40 other students at any given time, and having my own kitchen is awesome!” added Frondorf. “It’s a quiet, private, and positive environment,” which some people might benefit from.
Junior, Luke Schmitt, who also lives in the Spanish house, likes living in affinity housing because of the wide variety of students in the group.
“McDaniel is generally pretty cliquey, so it’s nice to mix up people from each ‘clique;’ especially when we have get-togethers on weekends. Everyone brings their friends,” said Schmidt.
Sophomore Kelsey Gondek also chose the route of affinity housing and currently lives in the music outreach house.
Gondek chose to live there because she “felt that being apart of the musical outreach group and living with others in this group would allow her to learn about all kinds of things from the other members of the group.”
Gondek also realized that when you’re apart of affinity housing, your house is self-governed, which more or less means that each house sets its own rules.
She personally sees this as a partial flaw because her house has no set quiet hours, so “music is always playing and some people may want to sleep depending on the hours.”
For some students, affinity living situations might be their personal choice for a majority of their time here at McDaniel. Other students have chosen to return to normal dormitories after one semester or year.
For example, Allison Spencer spent her sophomore year living in the French house, which helped towards her French major.
Spencer loved the “atmosphere and the activities that the French housemates partook in.”
However, she chose to return to living on campus for her junior year because she felt that she was too far from her classes and other friends. She now resides in Blanche-Ward Hall.
Unlike the traditional dorm selection process, which relies on a lottery system, the process to obtain affinity housing is a little more complicated.
Organizations must apply for a spot and present a formal presentation that outlines the group’s purpose, goals, and objectives to the affinity housing committee, who then conduct an interview.
Most, if not all, students living in special housing are required to complete at least eight hours of community service per month, hold events throughout the year with other affinity groups, and have meetings with the administration.
If you have the right attitude, affinity housing can be a great choice. For more information, go to the Office of Residence Life to get started!