Common Interest, Community Based Living: What is Affinity Housing?

Cara LeCoz, Contributing Writer

Finding a place to live on campus is always a source of stress and difficulty. Like clockwork, students agonize over their lottery numbers, finding roommates and registering for housing every year. At college, students are encouraged to grow and become independent, and it tends not to help when you’re 20 years old but still living in a dorm hall. However, this is when living in a house has its benefits.

Over the last decade or so, Affinity Houses have been established on a majority of college campuses. They offer a separate space that focuses on common interests among University students. These houses that scatter campus foster unique and fun living-learning communities. Affinity Houses provide a dual benefit of being close to campus while also providing an escape from campus life. The beauty of these housing options is the way they promote independence while also having a tight-knit support system.

I, myself, live in Sunnyside this year. Sunnyside is focused on providing a space for high achieving women to support and motivate one another. After a long day or week of monotonous classwork and stress-inducing assignments, it is nice to come back to a warm, welcoming home. When I pass anyone on the stairs or in the hall, I am always kindly greeted, and conversations tend to spark. If I am lucky, there will even be treats on the kitchen counter free for the taking. Every Tuesday, a group of housemates and I get together to watch “Bachelor in Paradise.” It has become a weekly tradition, and we are always willing to expand the Bachelor Nation! It is those little things that make a community like Sunnyside so special.

On another note, I would like to mention how some houses focus on marginalized communities. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against tenants based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability and family status. That being said, it is essential to know that houses like Seventh Street, Fran’s, Sunnyside and the International house are safe spaces where students who identify with each house’s individual theme may choose to stay. That does not mean only students who identify with the theme can live there. It cannot be stressed enough how these communities are vital to a diverse representation of campus life, in which all students feel safe. It is also nice to know that all members of campus can find a safe space. There are so many other groups on campus that still need a place for themselves. That is why we must continue to encourage such communities on our campus. 

If you are interested in applying for Affinity Housing, please make sure to check it out on the Bucknell Housing Services Website. It is a great way to meet like-minded people and live semi-independently. You even get to surpass that nerve-racking housing lottery system. Also, if you have an idea for another Affinity House, University housing services can accommodate your interests.

Here is a list of the 13 Affinity Houses that are currently on campus; descriptions of there themes are taken from Bucknell’s Affinity Housing website:

7th Street House—Umoja

Umoja means “unity.” “Our mission is to convene Black people and other people of color in order to create an environment where minority students feel welcomed and comfortable on Bucknell’s campus.”

23 University Ave.—The Ticket Booth

“The Ticket Booth is a friendly and judgment-free environment where people feel comfortable expressing their opinions on pop culture topics. We will cultivate diverse and informative conversations that will allow our affinity members to build understanding relationships and strong friendships with each other.”

51 Strohecker Farm Lane —Quest

“Quest is a place for people who play video games. The house represents Bucknell’s esports community, including those who play competitively and those who play casually.”

 64 University Ave.—The Outhouse

“At the Outhouse, we promote outdoor recreational activities and explore our shared love for the outdoors. Our goal is to promote environmental awareness and help the larger University community explore and appreciate the outdoors.”

400 St. George St.—Entrepreneurship & Innovation

“The mission of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Affinity House is to foster intellectual growth, collaboration and creative thinking. We strive to establish the mindset that we can positively impact the world around us through entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Carey House—Bohemia

“The mission of the Bohemia Affinity House is to foster a diverse and interdisciplinary artistic community by establishing a residential space in which students can collaborate. Our house merges diverse artistic perspectives in ways that energize and rejuvenate the arts, academic and social scene at Bucknell.”

Corner House—International

“The International Affinity House promotes the international community on campus by engaging the wider Bucknell community in global and cultural activities. We strive to create an inclusive space that celebrates culture and diversity on campus.”

Edwards House—Bed & Breakfast

“Bucknell’s Bed & Breakfast Affinity House is a community of students who enjoy being in the kitchen, whether it’s cooking, baking or simply eating with friends. BnB will host cooking events where students in our community can share their favorite recipes, teach others and share house meals.”

Fran’s House

“Fran’s House, named after the late director of the LGBT Office, Fran McDaniel, provides Bucknell University with LGBTQ+ friendly, gender-neutral housing. The house serves as a safe place for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies at all times and as a sponsor of events to enrich the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies on campus.”

Galloway House—Cap & Dagger

“The Cap & Dagger Affinity House promotes the growth of the arts at Bucknell and provides ongoing support to the Department of Theatre & Dance. We uphold the University’s commitment to a liberal arts education by integrating living, learning, service and art all within a safe, empowering and dynamic environment.”

Hulley House—C.A.L.V.I.N. & H.O.B.B.E.S

“C.A.L.V.I.N. & H.O.B.B.E.S is a strictly substance-free house dedicated to providing a fun, safe environment for students to live and socialize. We partner with the club on campus with the same name, which has promoted substance-free fun for more than 25 years.”

Leiser House—Sunnyside

“Sunnyside fosters a community of leadership, support and empowerment among motivated and high-achieving women on Bucknell’s campus. We aim to provide an inclusive hub for positively charged innovation and collaboration to enhance the college experience for all students on campus.”

Taylor Street House—Sustainability

“The Sustainability Affinity House is a community of individuals who are mindful of their consumption and motivated to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle through innovation and action. We engage with partners on and off campus to educate and encourage sustainable practices.”

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