Special Interest Housing
Special Interest Housing
Life Outside the Classroom
If you are inspired by art, crazy about computers, or passionate about photography, you may want to live in one of RIT's Special Interest Houses (SIH). Designed for students who live to share their interests, these six houses offer a specific academic focus to residence hall living and provide a way to tailor activities to a common group.
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. These communities are equipped with specialized facilities that promote the lifestyle of the students living on the floor. Special Interest Houses are self-governed organizations that challenge their residents to explore opportunities on the floor, on campus, and in the Rochester and global communities.
House members are selected based on a 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 process of new members with assistance from their Residence Life Advisor and RIT Housing. A student can be an off-floor member, meaning they are a member of the Special Interest House but do not live on the floor.
To support the activities of these communities, members are expected to pay dues to support amenities available to you if you live in this space. Dues range from $50 to $175 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, and participation is reviewed by house members and their Residence Life Advisor.
Special Interest Houses have been close-knit communities that have pushed the residential experience forward for over 40 years. The connections to faculty, departments, Upperclass students, and alumni make them a special experience.
If you want the variety of people and experiences of living in a residence hall, but like the idea of floors designed for a particular lifestyle, consider a Lifestyle Floor.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Submit your RIT Housing contract and your Special Interest House essays no later than May 1, 2023.
- 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.
May 1 is the deadline to submit your RIT Housing contract and the Special Interest House essay in order to be considered for fall membership. Submit both at mylife.rit.edu.
You will be notified mid May, via your RIT email account, if you have been accepted to a Special Interest House.
If you select a roommate and are also accepted to a Special Interest House, RIT Housing will contact you via your RIT email account in May to ask you for a decision – whether you prefer to live in the Special Interest House or if you choose to be an off-floor member and live with your selected roommate.
Special Interest Houses
Art House, which was the first special-interest house on campus, provides a creative and productive atmosphere for its members. Open to all campus residents of any major, it is of particular interest to students enrolled in the schools of American Crafts, Art, and Design. Art House provides a number of dedicated workspaces with equipment to allow members to comfortably complete assignments, study, and socialize. Community workspaces include worktables, a cutting station, an enclosed gallery, a fully ventilated industrial spray booth, an industrial light table, and a space that holds a community store of resources and tools, including a projector, a computer with software useful for art students, and new animation equipment. House members engage in activities and community service in order to take part in the annual trip to Toronto. Due to its high concentration of art majors, Art House provides a mentoring and nurturing environment for future artists and hobbyists with support from RIT’s faculty and staff.
As one of the most popular and oldest special-interest houses on campus, Computer Science House (CSH) provides its members with a state-of-the-art technology environment, as well as a warm and inviting family atmosphere. Not only a home for computing majors, CSH is a diverse organization consisting of students from all majors who share a common interest in technology.
Members operate and maintain an enterprise-grade computing environment to fuel innovation and keep its members ahead of the technological curve. CSH’s members benefit from in-house email and web hosting, web-accessible vending machines, ludicrous network speeds, and access to other resources and opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. Those who wish to expand their technical knowledge will greatly benefit from specialized rooms (such as a server room and workshop) and the remarkably broad expertise of other members.
But what is work without play? CSH also offers a vibrant social atmosphere with traditions ranging from Capture the Flag and camping trips to house meetings and faculty gatherings. With a strong ongoing connection to more than 35 years of alumni, CSH offers unique networking opportunities between its members and industry professionals. The members of CSH look forward to making you a part of their family.
Engineering studies at RIT are demanding, but first and second year students will find they have an advantage by living in Engineering House. Engineering House promotes an environment where students with an interest in engineering can grow both academically and personally.
On-floor Engineering House facilities help support the needs of both on and off-floor members. A study lounge with whiteboard-surfaced walls and desks allows for large group study sessions in a comfortable environment. The on-floor VAX workshop hosts a variety of tools for students to use on personal and class projects. The VAX workshop is also used annually for projects such as Imagine RIT as well as a freshman project that is designed, developed, and completed by the freshman class.
Because college can be stressful, Engineering House also offers a relaxing environment to help relieve the stress of everyday college life. Members can take advantage of the on-floor movie theater, pool lounge with stadium speakers, and a lounge in the kitchenette that looks across campus as the sun sets. Engineering House encourages socialization and connections that last a lifetime.
The House of General Science (HoGS) is a diverse community of students who share a common interest in science. The house attracts students who are interested in the traditional sciences (e.g., chemistry and physics), the medical science professions, mathematics and statistics, and innovative fields like biotechnology, bioinformatics, and imaging sciences.
The house maintains a close link with the dean and faculty of the College of Science, and provides many social, recreational, and educational activities throughout the year to encourage communication and learning between house members and the campus scientific community. The house provides students with a great way to establish lifelong friendships and a way to build their professional careers and experiences.
Photo House is the ideal place for RIT students with a passion for photography, whether they are photo majors or not. Photo House draws students from many programs, including film, engineering, computer science, and new media. Photo House provides convenient facilities that are open 24 hours a day. Without leaving your hall, you can shoot in the studio, mount or print in the print finishing room, and present your work in the gallery or maybe even be featured on the Photo House instagram @photohouserit, or on the Photo House website.
Members are always finding fun things to do in their free time, including movie nights, gallery projects, picnics, game nights, and an annual trip to Letchworth State Park. Looking to develop your photographic style? Professionals in the field often come to speak at Photo House and share their real-world experiences, and Photo House members also benefit from mutual critiques of their work in a supportive atmosphere
Unity House is dedicated to a supportive community focused on developing AALANA (African American, Asian American, Latino American, Native American) student leaders. Unity House has built a tradition of welcoming new students and provides a variety of academic workshops, programs, and community service activities in an environment that promotes academic achievement.
Members develop leadership skills through a first-year project, diverse cultural celebrations, personal development opportunities, and social events. Unity House members engage with various clubs, including AALANA Collegiate Associations, Latin American Students Association, 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.