Life Outside the Classroom
If you are inspired about art, crazy about computers, or passionate about photography, you may want to live in one of RIT's special-interest houses. Designed for students who live to share their interests, these seven houses offer a specific academic focus to residence-hall living and provide a way to tailor activities to a common group. Special-interest houses are self-governing organizations that also have a resident advisor living on floor. House members are selected based on an initial written application process, not on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications must be received by May 1 in order to be considered for fall membership. Current house members are actively involved in the selection of new members with assistance from their Residential Life administrative advisor, RIT Housing staff, and academic advisor. The demand to live in some houses far exceeds available space.
All house members are expected to pay dues to support house activities and purchase supplies for the extra on-floor amenities available to you if you live in this space. Dues range from $45 to $105 per year depending on the house. Because the houses are designed for members to share interests, they require residents to be active in house events, attend weekly meetings, and to participate in special projects throughout the year.
Special-interest houses are close-knit communities, some of which have been in existence for 35 years. The connections to faculty, departments, upper-class students, and alumni make them a truly special experience.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I apply to a Special Interest House?
- Submit your RIT Housing contract and your Special Interest House essays no later than June 1, 2020.
- Proceed in searching and selecting a roommate as not all students who apply are accepted to a Special Interest House. If you are not accepted, then you have a roommate of your choice to live with somewhere other than a Special Interest House.
When is the deadline to apply?
June 1, 2020 is the deadline to submit your RIT Housing contract and the Special Interest House essay via the mylife.rit.edu portal in order to be considered for fall membership.
When will I be notified of my acceptance status to a Special Interest House?
Mid-June, you will be notified via your RIT email account.
What if I want to be assigned with my roommate and get accepted to an SIH or Honors floor?
If you select a roommate and are also accepted to a Special Interest House, RIT Housing will contact you via your RIT email account from May 9 - 22 to ask you for a decision – whether you prefer live in the Special Interest House or if you choose to be an off-floor member and live with your selected roommate.
Art House provides a creative and productive atmosphere for its members. Open to all students that have a passion for the arts, it specifically works to connect students enrolled in the School of Art, the School of Design, and the School for American Crafts. Art House provides unique workspaces and equipment such as: work tables, a cutting station, and an enclosed gallery. In additional to the resources on floor, Art House encourages students to explore off campus activities around Rochester and an annual trip to Toronto.
Visit the Art House Website
Computer Science House (CSH) provides its members, representing a wide variety of majors, 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.
Engineering House creates a welcoming environment for students interested in engineering by creating strong social bonds and providing opportunities for exploring the practical applications of many disciplines of engineering. On floor study resources include a scanner, a printer, electronic study material, and a large room tailored for focused study. Engineering House students collaborate on projects and participate in many activities throughout the year. Some events include movie nights, athletic events, intramural sports, house trips, community projects, and an annual freshman project that is designed solely by the freshman class.
House of General Science (HOGs) promotes a friendly environment for students who share diverse interests in science. Members represent the traditional sciences (i.e., chemistry and physics), the medical science professions, mathematics and statistics, and innovative fields like biotechnology, bioinformatics and imaging science. Through interaction with your housemates and the strong connection with the College of Science, you'll get the chance to gain a better understanding of the different sciences, share your curiosity, and expand your sense of discovery. The floor includes social spaces as well as spaces equipped with the tools you need to complete your academic and personal projects.
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, and computer science. Photo House provides its members with a studio, a gallery, and social lounge. Some of the activities have included movie nights, trips to Letchworth, and an annual trip to PhotoEXPO in New York City. Photography is about capturing a moment in time, so this community works to create as many memorable moments as possible.
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.
All-Male / All Female Floors
If you prefer to live in a single-sex environment, you may request this option on your residence hall contract. Students may also be placed on a single-sex floor without requesting this option in order to maintain the balance of males and females on co-ed floors. Opposite-sex visitation is allowed on single-sex floors.
Gender- Inclusive Housing
RIT offers gender-inclusive housing options to incoming and current students in the residence halls in Mark Ellingson Hall.
Gender-inclusive housing is a housing option that places no restriction on the gender of roommates. This means that students can live in the same room with a person(s) of a different biological gender. Gender-inclusive housing is one option among our traditional housing in a variety of residence halls.
RIT offers this option to help create an environment which acknowledges, appreciates and respects the diverse nature of the RIT student body, while giving students more flexibility in finding a roommate who is truly compatible. Residing in gender-inclusive housing is a choice; no student will be assigned to a gender-inclusive space in the residence halls without applying for that option.
Interested students must indicate in the housing application they are interested in Gender-Inclusive Housing. By selecting “yes” (you are interested), you will be able to search for other students who have selected “yes” and match as roommates, and you will be able to search for gender-inclusive rooms during room selection.
There are a limited number of gender-inclusive rooms available. If you are searching for a gender-inclusive room but none are available, please contact RIT Housing to discuss potential options.
Students who have been accepted into the RIT Honors Program have the opportunity to live in honors housing in Carlton Gibson Hall, where they can build friendships and mutual support in the honors community while taking advantage of honors activities beyond the classroom. First-year honors students are encouraged to select honors housing, but may also choose other residence hall options, such as special-interest houses.
University Exploration: A Living-Learning Community for Undecided Majors
First-year students admitted into the University Studies program are encouraged to live and learn together, to gain insight from each other about the proces of deciding on a final RIT major. Students in the USP LLC live in Residence Hall B, where they can interact on a daily basis and discuss a variety of topics ranging from courses, careeers, and deciding on a major to simply talking about their plans for an upcoming weekend. The faculty and staff of the University Studies program engage with the students throughout the year with social and educational events held in or near Residence Hall b, starting with a fall picnic each year.
RIT Housing does not assign hearing and deaf/hard-of-hearing students as roommates unless both students request an assignment together. Students may be placed on a mainstream floor without requesting this option.
The RAs assigned to these floors have sign language skills and special training related to the needs of the hearing and deaf/hard-of-hearing population. RAs may be hearing or deaf/hard-of-hearing.