What is Special Interest Housing?
Special Interest Housing is unique to RIT and has been part of RIT’s residence hall experience for more than 40 years. Special Interest Houses are communities of students that all share a similar interest. There are 7 SIHs at RIT: Art House, Computer Science House, Engineering House, House of General Science, International House, Photo House and Unity House.
Each house occupies a floor or part of a floor of a residence hall building and specializes in providing a place for individuals to thrive through academic support, activities, events, community service and special amenities. They are self-governed by house members that hold Executive Board positions and are supported by Residence Life advisors and RAs living on-floor.
SIHs are perfect for students who want to share their passions with like minded individuals and be a part of community environment. There are individual requirements for each house that may consist of community service, attendance to weekly meetings, involvement in house events, activities and projects, as well as paying dues which can range from $45-105 per year depending on the house. Special Interest Houses are close knit communities that allow students to have built-in relationships and similarities to members. While each house has a speciality, you do not need to major in the it, you just need to have interest in it. It allows students to continue to fuel there passions, grow, learn and ultimately have the support and connections to thrive as an individual.
How do I get in a Special Interest House?
As an incoming freshman, the application for each house (which consists of questions designed by each Eboard to get to know the applicant better and see if they would be a good fit for the house). The application is due with the housing contract in the beginning of May each year. The house will review all applications which are kept anonymous and decide whether to accept the member. Then around mid-May, applicants will receive emails from RIT Housing of acceptance.
If you didn’t fill out the house application and are still interested in being a member, find their table at the club fair during orientation week or email them directly for more information! Any year level can become a member in the house!
On-Floor vs Off-Floor Membership?
An On-floor member live on floor of the house and off-floor members live somewhere else in residence halls or on/off campus but still have swipe access into there house.
Tours of SIHs
For students applying to RIT and submitting a housing application, we have provide tours at open houses in the Fall and Spring. If you are interested in a tour, you will be directed to the SIH tables usually in Nathaniel Rochester Hall Room 1250 after a housing tour and can have a tour of the houses.
If you want a tour of a house(s) at another time, contact Residence Life or individual houses directly to be accommodated.
What does each house have to offer?
Art House is perfect for artists and aspiring artists to pool their resources, skills, knowledge and expand each other’s horizons. The idea is that you can try out new things, get better at what you already know, you can do anything from showing off serious pieces in our display case to covering a whiteboard with horrible doodles. It provides a community to both art majors and hobbyists. Art House is a social environment where individuals help each other with projects, get critiques, or just share what they’ve made!Art House provides unique workspaces such as a studio space, and industrial spray booth and storage room.Art House plans tutorials run by members, help artists find opportunities to showcase or sell their work, and plans fun trips for the whole house to take part in.
Computer Science House (CSH) provides its members, representing a wide variety ofmajors, with a state-of-the-art technology environment, as well as a warm and inviting “family” atmosphere. CSH’s members benefit from in-House email and web hosting, web-accessible vending machines, specialized rooms such as a server room and workshop, ludicrous network speeds, and access to other resources and opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. With a strong ongoing connection to its 40+ years of alumni, CSH offers unique networking opportunities between its members and industry professionals. CSH strives to create a sense of community – where members encourage each other to create interesting and technically-challenging projects to improve both themselves and the organization as a whole.
Engineering House is a Special Interest House with a focus on an interest in any, and all, forms of engineering. Established in 1971, we have a large range of alumni to support us.We promote team-building and encourage members to work together to accomplish goals. Engineering studies at RIT are demanding, but you will find that you could have a significant advantage by being a member of Engineering House. Members have access to our pool lounge, kitchen, study lounge, and VAX. In the study lounge you will find walls blanketed with white boards, study aids, and easily accessible tutoring. Half of the VAX houses our stadium seating theater with a surround sound system. The other half is dominated by our workshop, in which you will find a 3D printer, hand tools, power tools, and anything else needed to complete your project. Our strong family atmosphere allows us to work together to sponsor events, encourage project completion, and participate in many exclusive activities throughout the year, including movie nights, athletic events, intramural sports, house trips, community service, and much more.
The House of General Science is a floor that thrives on a shared interest in Science. While HoGS tends to have many members with a science major, there is no requirement for a member to be a science major. HoGS shares a strong bond with the College of Science, and encourages members to be active in the RIT community with routine community service, and by doing projects for the yearly Imagine RIT festival. We have a collection of tools for members to use for personal use or for the benefit of the house, as well as lounges for social and study activities, including a library textbooks donated by members. HoGS greatly encourages curiosity and passion for the sciences as well as general shenanigans.
International House (I-House) is made up of students from all backgrounds and cultures, who share a sense of passion for diversity. Although the name may include ‘international’, many members were born and raised in the United States. I-House is a place where students can learn about other cultures and be a part of an open, friendly community. The house boasts a large kitchen that allows members and alumni come together to enjoy these home cooked meals with each other and celebrate the community that they are a part of. Members also explore the Rochester area through programs like amusement parks and skiing trips.
Photo House is open to all students that have a passion for photography regardless of major. Photo House draws students from many programs, including film, industrial design, business, engineering, and computer science. Photo House has an on floor studio, a print finishing room, a dark room, a gallery, and a social lounge. Some our activities have included movie nights, virtual reality Fridays, laser tag, trips to Letchworth, and an annual trip to PhotoEXPO in New York City. We also work to promote not only positive family like environments within our house but also with the community; work with local organizations such as with food banks, or Rescue Pit allows us to help nonprofits using our strengths. Partnering with our alumni and College of Imaging Arts & Sciences allows us to have private on floor lectures helping us learn about the industry, applying for jobs, creating resumes or new techniques in the studio or gallery. For photography, study sessions for our common classes also helps us to have an average of a letter grade higher than other students in our major.
Unity House is open to all students interested in living in an environment with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to create a home away from home. Unity House supports all students but specifically the ALANA community (African American, Asian American, Latino American, Native American) to get involved in campus activities while also achieving academic success. Members develop leadership skills through Unity House events as well as through the other organizations Unity House supports such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Caribbean Students Association, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Asian Scientist and Engineers, and the American Indian Science and Engineer Society.