Program Mission and Goals
Create living and learning communities, within on campus housing, that offer groups of students the opportunity to create unique, self-directed living environments, centered on a common theme. Students in Special Interest Housing (SIH) will live, learn and work together throughout the academic year by participating in multiple shared community-based learning experiences.
Student Expectations: Live, Learn, and Serve
- Practice independent living in University-owned houses
- Uphold all University Conduct & Residential Living policies
- Actively build positive relationships with housemates, SIH program participants, and community partners
- Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of community needs and service organizations
- Identify how their strengths, interests, and education can be used to serve the community
- Maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA
- Participate in semesterly reflection opportunities
- Prepare and give a 10-15 minute end of year reflection presentation with your housemates
- Design a service project connected to a specific topic
- Develop community partnerships
- Create positive change through service
- Increase awareness and participation of community service participation
- Individually complete a total of 12 hours of service in the Fall semester and 12 hours of service in the Spring semester
Students will select a broad service topic that will serve as the theme of their Special Interest House.
The service project will be developed in collaboration with a community partner.
The service project cannot be a service project that their organization has ever sponsored. For the purposes of the Special Interest House, the service project must be a completely new endeavor taken on by the members of the group. Meaning, the service project for the Special Interest House cannot be a project that an organization is currently completing.
Each student will be expected to complete 12 hours of service in the Fall and 12 hours of service in the Spring semester. Of the 12 hours to be completed each semester, a minimum of 4 hours must be completed collectively with all members of the residence. The remaining 8 hours can either be completed solely by the individual or collectively with other members of the residence.
When selecting a topic, consider the strengths, passions, academic classes, future career goals, and resources of each member in your group. It is important that you do something that each student can get excited about, but also that you can connect to your personal strengths, academic pursuits, and life goals. Get creative in exploring topics and options; find a topic that fits your group well.
Community Based Learning
The service projects that students will complete will align with at least one of the following community-based learning types:
- Direct service-learning activities are those that require personal contact with people in need. Examples of direct service may include mentoring and/or tutoring children, and working at shelters.
- Through this type of service, Special Interest House group members will learn to take personal responsibility, and that they are capable of making a difference as an individual
- Indirect experiences activities are centered in channeling resources to the problem rather than working directly with an individual who may need the service. Often students do not come into direct contact with the people they are serving. Examples of indirect service may include collecting food or toys for disadvantaged families, and participating in landscaping or other environmental projects.
- Indirect experiences often take place in a group, which teaches Special Interest House group members teamwork and organizational skills.
- Advocacy as a service experience requires students to lend their voices and talents to the effort to eliminate the causes of a specific problem and to make the public aware of the problem. Examples of advocacy may include making presentations to the community about a particular issue, and distributing literature.
- Advocacy allows Special Interest House group members to learn how to communicate problems, ideas, and solutions clearly and concisely.
All group members must be full-time University of Lynchburg students enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours.
All group applicants’ members must remain in good disciplinary standing with the University (not on any conduct or academic probation at time of application).
All group applicants must maintain a minimum 2.5 overall QPA while participating in the Special Interest Housing program. Semesterly grade reports will be completed for all participants.
All group applicants must be active members of their organization. Should a group member fail to remain active in an organization or be removed from a roster, the group must report this information to the Office of Housing and Residence Life within 7 days. The inactive student will then be administratively reassigned to another housing assignment within 14 days. The group will have 14 days to fill the vacant space with alternates listed on the group’s application.
In addition to academic and service expectations, all Special Interest House residents are expected to be upstanding citizens on campus and in the community, acting as character and academic role models to others.
Group members will work together to design a unique service project connected to a specific topic.
Group members will submit a service plan at the start of each semester that will outline their work with a community partner and their goals to complete 12 hours of service in the Fall and 12 hours of service in the Spring semester. Of the 12 hours to be completed each semester, a minimum of 4 hours must be completed collectively with all members of the residence. The remaining 8 hours can either be completed solely by the individual or collectively with other members of the residence.
All group members will be expected to actively engage and complete the service hours requirement for each semester.
All group members will actively participate in providing feedback on the service project, taking on roles and tasks to complete the service project, and planning and implementing reflection and evaluation.
All group members will be expected to submit a reflection assignment at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters articulating the accomplishments of the service plan and the group member’s connection between their service experiences, academic learning, and life goals, and an evaluation of their individual and group progress toward the learning and service goals for their project.
All group members will be expected to present a brief presentation at the end of the Spring semester highlighting their service project, impact on self and community, goals achieved, and lessons learned.
2020-2021 Application Process
|Monday, February 24||Special Interest Housing Interest Meeting, 2:00pm, West Room
*A group representative must attend and sign-in to be emailed application!
|Monday, March 16||Special Interest Housing Group Applications due by 5:00pm|
|Wednesday, March 18-Thursday, March 19||Special Interest Housing Group Interviews|
|Friday, March 20||Notification Email to All Groups Regarding Acceptance|
Special Interest House Group Application Requirements
All groups must be comprised of 3-6 students, and groups may be gender inclusive.
All group applicants must be recognized organizations or supported academic programs at the University of Lynchburg and have the support of their faculty or staff advisor.
All group applicants must be active members of their organization at the time of application.
All group applicants must have a minimum 2.5 overall QPA at time of application. A grade report will be completed for each group member once applications are submitted.
All group applicants must be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior at the time of application.
All group applicants must be full-time University of Lynchburg students enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours.
All group applicants must be in good disciplinary standing with the University (not on any conduct or academic probation at time of application).
All group applicants must have made a financial commitment (or made other arrangements) with the Business Office in order to be eligible to apply.
Students signing the Special Interest House group application and awarded a Special Interest House are entering into an academic year contract and are in-eligible to move off-campus during that academic year.
Please click here to view the Guidelines for Special Interest Housing document.