The Campus Life Committee recently voted to make Harambee and Queer & Ally (Q&A) House permanent houses on the Knox campus. This means the houses will not need to be approved as themed houses any longer and will become permanent fixtures of the campus in the same way houses like Casa Latina, ABLE, International House and Asian Cultural House are now.
Harambee and Q&A House have both been voted in as theme houses regularly for the past few years, and have become staples of Knox’s campus. We believe that having permanent status and a permanent location will allow these spaces to further develop and give students that live in them the opportunity to make them more their own.
The permanence of the houses will hopefully make the campus even more aware of who the members are, and the resources and support they intend to offer through the house. Cultural houses are often staples of the residential experience of students who live in them and can provide safe spaces for students of various identities to congregate and build community.
It’s important for the college to consider which students are represented by the different cultural houses on campus, and Harambee and Q&A House being granted permanent status is a step toward greater inclusivity in residential life. This is a change that’s likely to make a lasting impact on the development of Knox’s campus community.
Though there are many positives attached to this change, we think it’s also important that the Senate Housing Committee continue to consider how many houses are available on campus and who is being granted permanent housing. There are only so many houses on campus and it is inevitable that not everyone that wants to live in them will be able to.
Lastly, we encourage members of the new houses to consider how they act as representatives of the house on the campus at large. Members should work to make sure that students know what events the houses are holding and what resources they offer. Facebook events, poster campaigns and advertisements in the Campus Life newsletter are just a few effective ways to reach the student body.
We hope to see students involved in these houses also engaging with relevant issues on the campus at large and advocating for students and topics that relate to the house’s mission.