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Special Interest Communities


What is a Special Interest Community?  

Special Interest Communities offer the opportunity for groups of students who share a common interest to live together and to build a community around that interest. Each community will have a Program Coordinator (the person who submits the proposal) who will connect regularly with Residential Life, will work to hold the group accountable and who will lead the programming efforts for the community including managing the budget. 

Examples of Special Interest Community topics include social justice, sustainability, outdoor leadership, american sign language, film…  literally anything that you can think of! 

Programs that a Special Interest Community could have include dinner with faculty who share your interest, community service as a group, baking, fundraising for charity, making door decorations together… again, the sky's the limit!

Guidelines for proposal of a Special Interest Community: 

  • The person submitting the Special Interest Community Topic Application will be considered the Program Coordinator
  • This person will lead the group in programming efforts, will meet with an Area Director from Residential Life bi-weekly and will manage the budget
  • The Program Coordinator can change if needed
  • Once a topic is selected, students will be able to apply to be a part of the Special Interest Community. The Program Coordinator may be a part of the selection process. 
  • If more information is needed, the select committee may interview you prior to accepting your topic
  • Once a topic has been approved, Residential Life will choose a location for the community to be assigned. 
  • You can request a specific location but we will not guarantee that you will be offered that space even if your proposal is chosen
  • The Program Coordinator has the ability to name up to 3 other students to be a part of the community within their application (those students do not need to complete an individual application). All other spaces in the community will be assigned through the application process. 

Criteria for Selection of an Interest Community:

  • How well organized and robust is the program being proposed?
    • Ways to show this could be to include clearly written goals, specific programs outlined, potential roles of participants, etc.
  • Anticipated success of proposed program
  • Projected impact on participants
  • What specific skills and experiences will the students in the Special Interest Community gain?
  •  Projected impact on the Hamilton Community
  • How will Hamilton be made a better place by this Special Interest Community being on campus?
  • How will the Special Interest Community be a welcoming place for all students?
  • How will the community seek to be inclusive of its participants, other students housed in close proximity, and the rest of the Hamilton community?

Faculty or Staff Advisor:

Students must find a faculty or staff member who is also passionate about the interest topic to be a part of the community. This person will help to build the community through programming efforts and offering additional support by acting as the Special Interest Community advisor. 

Expectations of a Special Interest Community:

  • Policy violations by individuals or groups may result in individuals being removed from the community and Residential Life choosing their new room assignment
  • Communities will meet at the beginning of each semester to establish goals
  • Residential Life will work with the community to provide support
  • Communities will meet bi-weekly and should be programming in a way that builds community and encourages growth
  • There should be at least one gathering of the group per week (programs and meetings)

Expectations of individuals in a Special Interest Community:

  • Members will attend the bi-weekly community meetings
  • Members will be active and engaged participants in programming 
  • Members will be supportive of the program coordinator and the efforts of others to building community
Important Dates

Feb 09

Special Interest Community Topic Applications Due

Feb 10

Topic Applications will be reviewed from February 10-14

Feb 12

If our staff have questions about your application or need further information, we may schedule to meet with you February 12-14

Feb 18

Chosen topics will be announced and applications to join them will open

Feb 23

Individual applications to join a Special Interest Community are due

Contact Information


Residential Life

Elihu Root House, 2nd Floor
315-859-4023 reslife@hamilton.edu
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