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Affinity Housing

Affinity Housing Process

By offering affinity and theme residential living options, Illinois Wesleyan University continues to offer students opportunities to learn together outside the classroom. The opportunity is made available to groups of students who share a vision, a commonality or interest. By living together in campus housing, theme and affinity groups have an opportunity to learn and grow together, while accepting the privileges and responsibilities that come with occupying block housing settings. Interested groups of students are eligible for theme living if they meet the identified criteria, including having a mission, a predetermined roster of students committed to living within the theme community, and a community proposal for the goals and intentions of their group during their year-long occupancy in their certain area.

Theme and affinity living is designed to increase the range of housing options available to all students. It allows students to experience the benefits and rewards of living in a smaller community, while ensuring equitable access to residential resources. Theme and affinity living is an option for interested groups whose mission is consistent with the goals and purposes of Illinois Wesleyan University and whose ability to enhance that mission will be increased by the opportunity to live together.

Theme and affinity living is potentially made available in two of IWU’s small halls, by floor, or by building. Groups interested in bidding for theme or affinity housing should contact the Office of Residential Life at

blackstock hall

Affinity Housing

Illinois Wesleyan University has supported theme living since 1990 with the designation of Kemp Hall as the International House. Each year, before the campus wide housing lottery assignment occurs, students are given an opportunity to commit to living within a theme/affinity community through an application process. Interested groups of students can propose their theme/affinity housing primarily for the small halls with limited consideration for other specific spaces on campus. New charter proposals for the upcoming academic year are due before the housing lottery begins. Representatives from each interested group can schedule an informational session with an Area Director before they apply to answer any questions and provide guidance with the application process.

Once submitted, applications will be reviewed by members of the ORL team. In addition to the application, representatives are asked to give a 5-minute presentation on their proposal. Theme or Affinity Charters will be granted on the quality of the proposals submitted, and assigned to living units. You will be notified of the status of your application 72 hours after your presentation. Students selected to live in theme areas will be exempt from participating in the housing lottery process as they will be pre-assigned housing within a particular theme community.


In order to be individually considered for allocation of a theme living area, the members of the proposed group must be comprised of individuals who have lived on campus for two semesters and are eligible for the housing lottery as indicated by University housing policies. In addition, the proposed theme group must meet and agree to the following criteria:

  1. The proposing group of students must be able to provide a roster of interested housing applicants. The number of housing applicants should reflect the occupancy of the desired housing unit. Proposing groups should also provide a number of alternative students (5 – 10% recommended) to fill the roster in case accepted community members are unable to ultimately live in the community.
  2. The proposed group must demonstrate a commitment to the Illinois Wesleyan University community through proposed outreach/service activities, such as volunteering for local service organizations, or sponsoring speakers and programs on topics of interest to the IWU community intrinsic to the respective theme community.
  3. Theme communities whose occupancy falls below a 90 percent threshold level at any point in time will be subject to removal from the residence hall and its members to re-assignment so that another interested group of students may be placed in the residence hall.