MAFia residents gather in Ramer to discuss their Album of the Week.

Special Interest Houses are living-learning communities that offer groups of students the opportunity to pursue their shared interests in a dedicated residential space on a residence hall floor/wing or in an entire small residence hall.  Special Interest Houses (SIH) may be resident-centered or group-centered.  A resident-centered house focuses on a topic created by the students that is not connected to an existing student organization or larger campus program.   In a group-centered house, the students focus their activities on the goals of the existing student organization or campus program to which the house is connected.   In both types of house, the residents use their living space to advance their established group goals and add value to the campus community.

Each Special Interest House must have a minimum of one House President that represents the group to Residence Life and their house advisors.   The House President is responsible for leading the efforts of the house members in meeting the group’s specific goals and in fulfilling general SIH requirements.  Each member of the SIH is expected to be actively engaged in using the group’s dedicated living space in a manner that enhances their residential student experience.  

Every Special Interest House is advised by at least one faculty member or administrator. These faculty/staff sponsors offer advice and guidance in the development of formal programs and informal opportunities to meet the group’s goals.  In addition, Residence Life staff assist with the administrative aspects of managing a living group environment and implementing the house learning objectives.  Houses receive a program budget from the Office of Residence Life to support house initiatives.  

Special Interest Houses status is approved on a yearly basis.  The application for NEW SIH groups is available in OurCampus during the Fall semester.   Existing SIH groups that wish to return for the following year must submit a renewal application through OurCampus.  Renewal is based on progress in meeting the group’s goals, satisfying general SIH program expectations, and meeting administrative requirements, which includes the ability to continuously meet occupancy.   Details about the renewal application process will be communicated directly to current SIH prior to the end of the Fall semester.

Requirements & Expectations

Special Interest House expectations and requirements include:

SPRING SEMESTER [prior to living in SIH]

  • Submit a house roster of eligible students that fills all spaces in the house and includes alternates, as specified by Residence Life.
  • Encourage qualified group members to apply for the House RA position.
  • As a group, and in consultation with faculty/staff advisor, establish operational plan to meet house goals. 
  • House president holds introductory meeting with Residence Life staff member to review operational plan and general SIH expectations.


  • House must sponsor at least one event per month in support of group’s theme or mission.
  • Hold at least one meeting per month of the membership.
  • House President meets at least once per month with the Residence Life staff member who oversees the Special Interest House program.
  • House submits two self-evaluations per year:  one at mid-year and one at the end of the year.

Application Information for 2023-2024

For 2023-2024, Special Interest Houses may be assigned in the following locations: 225 Reeder Street, Farber Hall, Keefe Hall, Ramer Hall, Rubin Hall.

Special Interest Houses may be single-gender, mixed gender, or gender-inclusive.  The standard occupancy and room configurations vary between Special Interest Houses.  Groups must fill all spaces and may not alter the occupancy of any student rooms.  The minimum group size for a Special interest House is 11.  The maximum group size is 25.  

If approved, the Special Interest House group will be offered a specific location that corresponds to the type of  housing specified in the application.  There are many options for placement within the residence hall inventory and the intent of the SIH application process is to offer every qualified group the opportunity to become a Special Interest House.  Groups that list multiple facility types and a wider group occupancy range are more likely to be approved based on the total number of qualified applications received.

The application for NEW Special Interest Houses is in the Residence Life OurCampus portal (to see the application, you must first JOIN the portal). The application opens on Friday, October 28, 2022 and is due by 5pm on Friday, November 18, 2022.  The house leader submits one application on behalf of the group.  Notification will occur by Friday, December 9, 2022.

Members of the Residence Life staff are available for consultation and assistance through the application process.

Current Special Interest Houses 2022-2023

Lavender Lane

Located at Two West Campus, the newest Special Interest House aims to provide a safe and welcoming environment to members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  Through programming and social events, the group will establish a community among Queer students on campus and host events to educate the larger campus community on LGBTQIA+ rights.

Music Appreciation Floor

On the third floor of Ramer Hall, the MAFia advocates for the performance and appreciation of music in a substance-free environment. Opportunities are created for students to perform, either solo or as small groups, and to support campus musical groups through involvement in or attendance at performances. This group has been honored multiple times as the Outstanding Living Group at the Hoff Awards.
Read an article about MAFia.

TRAP (Tabletop and Roleplaying Appreciation Programs)

Located in Keefe Hall, this house provides a supportive environment for students to learn new games and play old ones, taking advantage of all of the benefits that tabletop games provide. House goals include helping members to become more innovative thinkers and problem solvers who are more confident, creative, and social. The TRAP Floor is a substance-free floor.

Past Special Interest Houses

America Through the Decades
Brothers of Lafayette
Cinema in Society
Cooking Enthusiasts (Café)
Creating Harmony and Necessary Cultural Equality CHANCE)
Dry Surfers
El Mundo
French House
From our Neighborhood to Yours
German House
Heritage of Latin America (HOLA)
Japanese Interest Floor (JIF)
Justice, Equality, Ecology
Lafayette Communications Union
Lafayette Organization of Science and Technology (LOST)
M.E.S.H. (Mathematics, Engineering, and Sciences House)
Mind, Body, Spirit
Students for Social Justice
The Village
Volunteer Floor