Newport Sees Theme House Changes
Issue   |   Wed, 02/24/2016 - 00:55
Next year, French House will move to the second floor of King Dormitory, and La Casa will live alongside Spanish House in Newport. Other than the changes in location, both theme houses will remain largely unchanged.

French House will move from Newport House to the second floor of King Dormitory next year, and La Casa will move into Newport from the third floor of Moore.

According to associate director of residential life Corry Colonna, members of French House had been suggesting a move for a long time. Colonna said the Greenway dorms will increase the college’s total count of non-suite singles next year, which made it possible to allocate the singles in King Dormitory to a theme house. The Office of Student Affairs made the final decision to move the theme houses.

French professor and director of French House Rosalina de la Carrera said she supports the change for several reasons, one of which is the need for residents to speak French more consistently to each other in the house.

“One of the reasons to have French House is in order to provide an immersive experience,” de la Carrera said. “You’re not immersed when you go to the common spaces [of the dormitory] and speak English, because it’s the only common language you have.”

According to de la Carrera, room selection is challenging in Newport and can be simplified by putting French House on a single floor. Each year the house alternates floors between French and Spanish House residents. The house policies require that both theme houses have residents live in the annex, a section of Newport that branches out from the main building, and de la Carrera said that this places theme house members far away from each other. She also said that it was important to ensure that the three French teaching assistants can live next to the students.

La Casa co-presidents Irma Zamora ’17 and Elizabeth Gonzalez ’17 said that there will be benefits to moving into Newport, which will still hold the Spanish House.

“Because there is so much overlap between the houses, even just in the language, [they are] naturally going to flow together,” Zamora said. “The Spanish House concentrates on culture, and we’re mainly focused on culture, so that interaction will be beneficial. I think the move will also help strengthen our relationship with the Spanish department.”

Zamora said Newport can be an effective place to host cultural events because it has a kitchen and provides more than one floor of space than La Casa’s current home in Moore. La Casa, which is currently working on an event with Spanish House for this March, will continue to work on collaborative cultural events in Newport.

“It’s difficult to express what the theme house is meant to represent in a dorm where other students can also be randomly placed,” Gonzalez said.