photo courtesy of roanoke.edu
by Alexa Doiron
Next school year, Residence Life and Housing will implement a new affinity housing known as the Interfaith Harmony Affinity House, or Interfaith Harmony House (IHH), on the first floor of Crawford. This community was an idea from the Chaplin’s Office as well as Residence Life in an attempt to create a home for the many religiously involved students on campus. While Roanoke College offers many different religious organizations for students, there is a need on campus for these students to have a home base. This community is the first of its kind with a focus on students interested in religion, spirituality, and faith of all kinds.
Since RC is a Lutheran school, the goal of this housing the acceptance of all beliefs to build a community where students of different faiths can interact.
Other goals include giving students a purposeful community as well as educating students with the religious global issues that face our generation. The community has adopted the slogan of, “Unity without Uniformity. Community without Conformity,” as a way to promote the accepting atmosphere of this new living opportunity.
To many students, it seemed odd that Residence Life chose Crawford Hall, a location well-known to house rowdy freshmen, but the department picked the location for a number of reasons. First, the hall is located very near to the Chaplin’s office, which will give students greater access to the center of the faith-driven community and the programming-center for most of the religious involvement on campus. The first floor of Crawford also provides different types of housing ranging from apartment-style living to triples.
Students who are interested in the new community can look forward to a redecorated floor. The first floor has a great location with Bay windows in a wide and open lounge, but the area will be in need of some restoration to make it feel more at home.
“The Crawford 1st Floor Lounge may be repainted, and there will be some new artwork installed. Other items under consideration include additional seating, tables, lamps, and prayer guides,” Said Area Director, Zach Rumble.
Residence Life has also been meticulous about the placement about the Resident Advisor for the floor and made sure that it would be someone who would also be interested in being part of the community. Sophomore Brian Kerr is currently lined up for the position and is eager about what this new community has in store.
“I am excited to see who is attracted to this community, and whether there will be a group of people from different backgrounds, or if it will be people who are just interested in other culture, and how they interact with one another,” Kerr said.
The community can also look forward to exciting new programs offered in order to really make the students have as much involvement as possible. Program ideas already in the works include: a Speaker & Discussion Series, an Interfaith Chaplains Training, and a Weekend Religious Site Retreat. Residence Life is also planning a pre-orientation program for incoming freshmen where they would be able to come back a week early and take part in a multi-day program, similar to the ones offered now but with a more religious and faith-based orientation. The department is open to ideas from students for more types of programming and looks forward to hearing from the residents.
“IHH students will have a ground floor opportunity to direct the programming of the community in a way that is meaningful and that captures the attention of residents of friends of the IHH,” said Rumble. Students who are interested in the IHH community for next year can contact Zach Rumble or stop by Residence Life to view the rooms and discuss further possibilities for this new community on campus.