Cultural Houses at Carleton College
One of the goals of the Office of Intercultural Life (OIL) is to create a sense of community among the students we serve. One of the ways we achieve this is through the Cultural House Community. OIL oversees four houses, each with a different mission that provides students with a safe and inclusive space to call their own.
The Cultural Houses are designed to provide a culturally safe space for students of color, international students and their allies willing to contribute to an environment that facilitates academic and personal success. The Cultural Houses provide a variety of educational, cultural, and social programs related to specific cultures and issues, while simultaneously providing a cultural comfort-zone. All Carleton community members are encouraged to participate in all programs and meetings held at the houses: Asia House (Asian cultural house), Freedom House (African-American cultural house) and La Casa del Sol (Latin@ cultural house).
For more information, please contact the OIL office.
Asia House (Hall House)
ASIA House strives to provide support and foster community for students who hold identities they feel resonate with the house name, and/or students who are passionate about advocating and educating around issues and topics connected to Asian culture. Asia House is an extension of the Office of Intercultural Life, therefore part of the mission is to create purposeful programming that will provide educational and social opportunities for students to learn and explore Asian and Asian American cultures and related topics. All Carleton community members are invited to participate in ASIA House programs.
Freedom House (Williams House)
Freedom House strives to provide support and foster community for students who hold identities they feel resonate with the house name, and/or students who are passionate about advocating and educating around issues and topics connected to the African Diaspora. Freedom House is an extension of the Office of Intercultural Life, therefore part of the mission is to create purposeful programming that will provide educational and social opportunities for students to learn and explore the African Diaspora and its various cultures. All Carleton community members are invited to participate in Freedom House programs.
La Casa del Sol (Hunt Cottage)
La Casa del Sol strives to provide support and foster community for students who hold identities they feel resonate with the house name, and/or students who are passionate about advocating and educating around issues and topics connected to Latinx culture. La Casa del Sol is an extension of the Office of Intercultural Life, therefore part of the mission is to create purposeful programming that will provide educational and social opportunities for students to learn and explore Latinx cultures and related topics. All Carleton community members are invited to participate in La Casa del Sol programs.
Intercultural Center (Stimson House)
Stimson House serves as the programming center for the Office of Intercultural Life & International Student Life. Programs hosted at Stimson are open to all students, faculty, and staff. On a day-to-day basis, Stimson House is a safe space for students to come together to relax, socialize, meet, and study. Our hope is that Stimson House will also be a place where students can have informal but meaningful interactions with students from diverse backgrounds. Housing options in Stimson House are reserved for the resident assistant (RA) and/or student peer leaders who work for the Office of Intercultural Life and/or International Student Life.
The following descriptions are of the leadership roles within each cultural house. Each role can have more than one occupancy, meaning that there can be co-chairs and co-leads depending on the number of residents per house and number of residents interested in a role. However, the number of residents per lead role cannot exceed a total of three residents; and the number of residents in the chair role cannot exceed a total of two residents. In addition, all residents, regardless of the role they occupy, are expected to work collaboratively and in support of one another.
House Program Manager
The House Program Manager (HPM) for their respective Cultural House (ASIA, Freedom, or Casa) will help to arrange relevant programming that strives to connect students to the houses and to each other. The HPM will also serve as a liaison between the Office of Intercultural Life (OIL), house residents, and related student and campus groups/offices. The HPM will be supported in their work by the Professional Staff members of OIL. More details of the HPM position (compensation, time commitment, duties, etc.) can be found in the Position Description.
This role consists of up to three leads. The resident(s) in this role is/are responsible for (a) being the cultural and historical expert of the house, as it relates to the identities that are represented within the house; (b) obtaining cultural and historical information about the identity that the house is intended to serve (from a range of credible sources); (c) sharing this cultural and historical information with the rest of the house members; (d) working with the activities lead, and other leads to develop meaningful events/activities that will help create awareness of these identities for the rest of the campus community.
This role consists of up to three leads. The resident(s) in this role is/are responsible for (a) developing events/activities to fulfill the trimester expectations from OIL (please refer to the section on programmatic expectations); (b) working closely with cultural/history lead to ensure that events/activities are meaningful to the house identity(ies); (c) working closely with the marketing/publicity lead to ensure that potential participants are aware of opportunities provided by the house; (d) working closely with the events/activities lead from other houses to develop cross-cultural-house-collaborations; and (e) keeping track of all participants involved in the events/activities.
This role consists of up to three leads. The resident(s) in this role is/are responsible for (a) ensuring that they are aware of all of the events and activities of the house; (b) promoting and communicating events and activities to potential participants; (c) creating meaningful posters (Once a trimester) that represent the various aspects of the identities represented within the house to be selected and posted across campus by OIL.
Students living within a Cultural house commit to creating inclusive, accountable, and respectful spaces in and outside of the house environment. Students represent OIL, which requires that they understand and adhere to campus policies and community standards. Residents are expected to participate in house programming and intentional effort towards community building.
Cultural House Responsibilities
Maintenance of the House
Living within a small, interest community requires frequent communication regarding how certain spaces are used. House members should create their own systems that allow equitable use and treatment of shared spaces such as the kitchen, bathrooms, basement, living room, and lounge spaces. Residents are expected to participate in regular upkeep of the house as it is often used as a programming and meeting space. Students should communicate with their House Liaison or RA to learn how to complete a Facilities Work Request if there are larger maintenance concerns that require attention.
House meetings are essential in order to continually update and check in with all house residents. There will be a minimum of 4 house meetings per term. House meetings will be facilitated by the House Program Manager. These meetings are required by all residents to attend unless a medical, family, or academic obligation occurs. Attendance will be recorded by the House Program Manager, and repeat absences without clear, preemptive communication can be considered as grounds for removal from the house. These meetings should address:
- Programming ideas
- Programming updates: Delegating duties and planning
- Housing concerns: Maintenance, upkeep or social
- Updates from OIL
Individual Meetings with OIL Staff
The House Program Manager is required to meet bi-weekly with the designated Supervisor from OIL. These meetings will be determined by the Supervisor from OIL and communicated to the Houses. If the House Program Manager is unable to attend, another resident will attend on their behalf.
This is an important aspect of all cultural houses where the events and activities lead, and the rest of the residents are all expected to do their best in establishing, maintaining, and developing meaningful relationships with other residents in the house. These efforts can include and are not limited to sharing creative ideas for creating connections within the house, sharing a meal with one or more resident(s), participating in a within house and/or broader campus activity with other house residents, and/or supporting each other through challenging times.
As part of community building, residents will also determine as a group to define their own set of responsibilities with each of the houses.
Social Events/Gatherings/House Parties
Social events and parties may be held in the cultural houses so long as the rights of other residents and neighbors are respected. Although these events may be held, the reputation of the house will not be defined by such gatherings. Social event hosts and the occupants of the house hosting the event are responsible for the behavior of their guests and for ensuring that all applicable College regulations and OIL expectations are respected.
- If these rules are violated and/or if the supervisor from OIL sees fit, a house can be designated as substance-free for the remainder of the term or academic year.
- If the substance-free designation is violated, house members involved will be immediately removed from their placement in the house.
House Program Managers are responsible for informing their supervisor of programming, attendance at programming, and issues/conflict that arise in the house.
House Program Managers should inform the supervisor of upcoming house programs so that the supervisor can be made aware and provide budget information if necessary.
Cultural Houses are expected to provide programming and foster community while continually ensuring that all house goals are met throughout the academic year. The Houses are required to complete each of the following events, at a minimum, once per term:
- One educational event centered around themes and topics of the house that is open to the campus community
- One House event dedicated to community building among House residents
- One Kick Back event in collaboration with the other cultural houses
Cultural Houses may also plan or participate in programs and events in association with one or more Cultural Organizations and may be asked to support OIL’s campus-wide programming.
Removal of Residents
Any member of the house who is disruptive or fails to contribute to the community goals will be removed from their respective Cultural House. The following procedures will be used when conflict or disagreements arise:
- All house members will attend a meeting for the purposes of reviewing expectations and resolving conflicts.
- If conflicts or disruptive behavior continues, a mediation session with an Intercultural Life and/or Residential Life staff member will be required.
- The Intercultural Life /Residential Life staff will determine how to resolve the conflict, which may include removal of a house member