Houses provide chance to give

by Sara Cowden

The fight for the apartments may still be hot, but theme house assignments have been decided and handed out.

The Theme House Selection Committee announced the recipients of the houses on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Currently there are 11 theme houses.

However, next fall theme house one, located at 807 North E St., will not be inhabited by students because the condition of the basement is not suitable for occupancy. According to Laurie Dienberg-Hoppe, area coordinator for apartments and theme houses, this house will be torn down within five years.

Dienberg-Hoppe will be moving out of her Hamilton apartment and into this house, preventing the house from sitting empty and opening up an apartment for students.

“Theme houses are decided by the Theme House Selection Committee, a group of five to six students and faculty members,” said Dienberg-Hoppe. “The committee is looking at the quality of the applications as well as the interviews. They want to see people who have concrete plans for community service.”

Dienberg-Hoppe said that disciplinary matters are not a factor in deciding who will be given a theme house because that information is confidential. The selection committee does not have access to such records. However, the application clearly states that no one on disciplinary probation will be allowed in theme houses.

Four theme houses from the 2002-2003 year will be returning to theme houses next year-the Progressive Action Coalition, Performing Arts, Sol, and Carver houses.

“All of the theme house students that went through the re-application process in January will get to stay where they are,” said Dienberg-Hoppe. “There is no favoritism to returning applicants. It is just that if they are doing a good job now, they’ll get back in.”

While living in a theme house has obvious benefits, it does involve a time commitment in the form of community service.

“All of the eight girls in our house thought that living together would be a lot of fun because we are all good friends and we are excited about reaching out to the community,” said freshman Corrie Bangston.

This house, located at 901 North E. Street , will devote its community service hours to mentoring at the Indianola Middle School.

Theme house three, the northern duplex at 901 North E. Street, also plans on helping out locally.

“We want to work through the Church of Christ here in Indianola,” said freshman House Manager Jessica Bowan. “Several of us attend (church) there. We are going to be pretty open to whatever the church needs are, whether that is yard work or otherwise.”

Bowan said the Heart House will focus on hospitality and welcoming everyone on campus to hang out.

“We all agreed that we wanted to be a place on campus that people could come for strong Christian community,” said Bowan.

Others say that a theme house is perfect for what their club wants to accomplish.

“It is nice that we don’t have to arrange for a place to hold meetings, we can just meet in our living room,” said sophomore Chris Schacht, a member of the PAC group.

The PAC house is located at 707 North C St.. Schacht said they will continue to be involved in many of the same projects and activities that they have this year, such as shantytown and bringing in forum speakers.

“We are dedicated to creating dialogue for students to voice their concerns about social and political issues,” said Schacht. “All of us are interested in helping students become informed on important issues and hearing what others think as well.”

For sophomore Om Gurung, house manager for the Himalaya House at 411 West Clinton, theme houses offer a chance to provide the Simpson community with an awareness of his home country.

“Our house is focused on bringing awareness,” said Gurung. “We want to show documentaries and teach people about our culture, it’s people and a way of life.”

Each theme house resident is required to do 15 hours of community service per semester. Currently there is no policy to enforce that community service hours are done, but Dienberg-Hoppe said that this will be changing.

“It has been done on the honor system, but I am trying to get a panel together that will oversee the community service aspect,” said Dienberg-Hoppe.