New theme housing opened this fall

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A drive down Georgia Avenue will take you past Stirling’s, the University Cemetery, and as of this summer, two new townhouse developments that have been added to the landscape. Previously, the space on Georgia and Mississippi avenues had several units of temporary housing, all of which were too small to house more than a few students. This transitory housing was torn down to make way for the new townhouses, and construction began in Spring 2014.

Kate Reed, assistant director of Residential Life, says that all of the units are currently full with EMS, an Arts and Crafts House, a Health and Wellness House, a Political Activism House, GTU, KD, ATZ, and KO having moved in this August.

A service of dedication in celebration of the new housing was held Monday afternoon, September 15.

The process of deciding who was to live in the new townhouses involved an application that students interested in theme housing fill out annually. This gives the groups a chance to inform Residential Life staff of their mission, purpose, and how they contribute to Sewanee’s community. Part of the application also asks whether their current residences suit the needs of their organization, and what improvements need to be made if they are to stay in the same house.

Each of the eight units can house seven to 12 upperclass students, and in total, Residential Life expects that around 70 students will live in the townhouses. The units are fully furnished, with a living room and kitchen downstairs, and bedrooms throughout the multiple floors. There was also a multi-purpose lodge constructed at the corner of Georgia and Mississippi. This convertible space can be reserved, and is expected to be a popular place to host lectures by guest speakers, group dinners, or club events.

The Office of Residential Life hopes that by constructing these theme houses, students can live with like-minded individuals with similar goals. “The most important purpose of theme housing is the community it provides to our students. Living in a theme house means that classmates are able to live with passion and purpose, both in and out of the classroom,” says Reed. Having the chance to live around other people with the same goals can encourage students to expand the boundaries of their learning and living styles.

The Office of Residential Life believes that this project will provide upperclass students with quality residential and social space while empowering students to create co-curricular and social experiences that are responsive to their ever-changing social and intellectual interests.

- Maria Baker, C'18

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