At the end of the last semester, I decided to move out of my shared apartment in Whitman’s College House, and applied for a spot in the Environmental Interest House, or, as it is more commonly called, the Outhouse. At Whitman, Interest Houses all based on a certain interest, such as community service or fine arts, as well as four different language houses. Starting in the 1970s, Whitman gradually acquired different properties, which eventually became 11 different Interest Houses: La Maison Française, La Casa Hispana, the Environmental House, Tekisuijuku, the Global Awareness House, the Writing House, Das Deutsche Haus, the Community Service Co-op, MECCA (Multi-Ethnic Center for Cultural Awareness), and the Fine Arts House..
While I am still living on campus, living in an Interest House definitely has some distinct differences to living in a typical resident hall. As a member of Whitman’s Interest House Community, the Outhouse is responsible for putting on several events for the rest of campus per a semester, which are focused on the Outhouse’s theme of environmentalism. The Outhouse is also responsible for collecting the recycling around the campus. Several days a week, residents eat dinner together in the Outhouse with food provided by Bon Appetit, the college’s food service, which is a nice change of pace from Whitman’s dining hall, which can be rather crowded at times.
For me, living in an actual house has been a pleasant change of scenery. While I enjoyed my time in the resident halls, it is nice to have access to all the amenities and privacy that a house provides, such as a cozy living room, or a kitchen that is not being used by an entire floor of people. The house is also pretty quiet and peaceful, and I can easily get work done without being distracted. Each house also has its own unique character and history, and it’s been an adventure exploring all the old artwork and photos that past residents have left behind, as well as getting to the know the quirks of the house (it has its own balcony!).
I look forward to making new friends and having new experiences in this community. All and all, living in an Interest House is pretty awesome living experience, and a great option for anyone who shares an interest with a certain house and likes the idea of living with a small group of people who share their interest.