This past weekend, students at Whitman had the chance to meet a live cow, make piñatas, celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with mochi and mooncakes, and enjoy pretzels and root beer at Oktoberfest. Sound strange? It’s all part of a typical weekend in Whitman’s Interest House Community!
The Interest House Community, also known as the IHC, is a collection of 11 sophomore on-campus houses, each centered around a certain theme. These include several language houses, including La Casa Hispana and La Maison Française, as well as houses based on activities and academic interests, such as the Fine Arts House and The Writing House. I have been lucky enough to live in two different houses, first the Environmental House as a resident, and now in the German House, as an RA, and I’ve absolutely loved my time in both of them! The smaller group sizes, house dinners, and common interests lead to some terrific bonding, and I’m still incredibly close with all of my former housemates. Besides all of the awesome hang-outs and meals that happen in the IHC, one of my favorite things has always been the programming. Each house has the chance to put on four all-campus programs every semester, ranging from educational to cultural to just plain fun! Over this past weekend, the IHC put on four amazing programs which collectively hosted hundreds of people, and I was able to visit a few of them. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Cows and C.O.W.S. at the Writing House:
The Writing House kicked off their first program in spectacular fashion: by bringing an actual cow to campus! The event was designed to help inform students about Whitman’s Center for Writing and Speaking, also known as the C.O.W.S., a resource that provides Whitties with tutoring for essay writing and editing. (Pro tip: if you’re ever stuck writing a paper the night before it’s due and you
don’t how to begin, the C.O.W.S. is an excellent place to start!) The event featured information about the C.O.W.S., several dairy-themed snacks, and, of course, the cow itself! Students had the chance to pet and take plenty of pics with the cute little calf.
Oktoberfest at the German House:
On Saturday, my house and I hosted our first program of the year: Oktoberfest! It’s the house’s longest-standing tradition and also one of our biggest programs, and this year was no exception. Prior to the start of the event, we spent about two hours in the kitchen, making all sorts of food: potato salad,
pretzels, Apfelkuchen, and a special cheese spread. Guests who came through also had a chance to take pictures at our “Oktoberfest photo booth,” complete with a decorated frame and lots of accessories! Overall, it was a very fun afternoon, and I loved being able to share this German tradition with so many people!
The Tekisuijuku and Asian Studies House host the Mid-Autumn Festival:
Unlike the other events of the weekend, this one was actually a collaboration between two houses, the Tekisuijuku (Japanese House) and the Asian Studies House, along with the China @ Whitman Club. The program celebrated the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, which is held in several Asian countries, and lots of delicious food was served,including mooncakes, mochi, and milk tea! After everyone had a chance to grab some food, members of both houses got together to put on a skit based on an old Chinese legend, and guests then had the chance to play some traditional board games.
If the Interest House Community looks interesting to you, you can read more here.