Drew has always striven to provide an environment that provokes open-mindedness, learning through experience and diversification. Theme houses have helped continue that effort by exposing students to different cultures or ways of life in their residence. The knowledge and encounters gained from participation in theme houses cannot be found in a classroom. A current theme house, the Earth House, aims to promote green living to its inhabitants. Students living in the Earth House are surrounded by other peers who share similar beliefs on conservation, recycling and sustainability.
Because theme houses have proved successful in their goals of diversifying dorm life, it is no surprise that additions are being proposed. The three new theme houses currently being considered are the Music Theme House, Eurozone and the Computer Science Theme House. These potential communities would offer an array of different living experiences, connecting students with others who share in their interests and passion to learn.
The Music Theme House would be a haven for all musicians, singers or general music listeners. Music majors and minors would find a plethora of other students to help with composition or performance homework. Students could look forward to collectively enjoying music and even having jam sessions with their peers. In addition, the Music Theme House would collaborate with the music department in organizing events for Drew’s campus. Students could potentially develop in their skills as musicians, performers and listeners, or simply better their understanding of music.
Eurozone is a theme house that would work to expose the vast cultures of Europe. For European studies minors or students simply interested in European cultures, this house would guarantee an exhibition on all things European, including politics. Working with the European-based clubs on campus to hold events, Eurozone would activate cultural awareness throughout its inhabitants and other students on campus. Founding the idea of Eurozone, Claire Grebenstein (’14) and her collaborators have thought up many ideas for future programs if the house is established. These interactive and educational activities include decorating residents’ doors with the flags of European countries, family dinners and movie nights. Through these programs, students will work towards “establishing and maintain[ing] a community,” according to Grebenstein, around a collective interest in learning more about European foods, movies and much more.
The Computer Science Theme House would be perfect for students looking to learn more about technology or those majoring or minoring in computer science. Creating a close community would help students increase their education and skills in technology and programming. Student Government Representative Zack Mower (’13) addressed the possibility of this community giving students an opportunity “to gain an edge in the job market.” This theme house would work to hold events at which students would have a chance to demonstrate their work to the corresponding department and other students on campus.
Theme houses are a unique experience for the students who choose to live there. Unlike typical dorm life, theme houses offer students an environment surrounded by new information and other students with similar interests and goals. And judging by the promising propositions made by these possible new theme houses, it is obvious to see the benefits to their addition to campus life. The three theme houses being considered differ in their specific areas of interest, but all are connected on their mission to “embrace various cultures and characteristics,” according to the Drew Website, and open students’ minds to new experiences.