OWU students hoping to live in themed community houses for the 2022-23
school year participated in the selection process during the weeks of February 7 and February 14.
Small Living Units, often referred to as SLUs, are houses on campus that center around a specific mission, which its members live in pursuit of and complete projects to achieve.
The current SLUs include Citizens of the World, Creative Arts, House of Linguistic Diversity, LA CASA, Interfaith, Tree House, Sexuality and Gender Equality, and Service, Engagement and Leadership.
In order to select members for the following academic year, the current and prospective residents participate in “SLUSH week”.
A play on words of the Greek Life process of Rush, the process serves to acclimate the applicants with those living in the house, so that they are able to select the members that they believe will best coincide with the house’s mission and community of students.
Each SLU hosted its own introductory events, all aimed at meeting prospective members.
“The goal of these events is mainly for people to come see what it would be like to live in the house. Yes, we have house projects and responsibilities as house members, but first and foremost we are a community,” explains Iggy Castro Cardenas, a junior who serves as the moderator of LA CASA.
As shown in the above picture of a flier describing some of LA CASA’s activities, the welcoming events included a wide range of opportunities for meeting new members. These included game nights, open houses, and activities like crafting, baking, and documentary showings.
As house moderator, Castro Cardenas had the responsibilities of overseeing the events, coordinating supplies, and working alongside the other SLU members to make sure the night ran smoothly.
SLUSH week began with an event in the Benes room on February 7, which allowed interested students to visit the table for each SLU and hear from the current members about their living spaces.
When looking for potential candidates, Castro Cardenas adds that the most vital aspect is a student’s commitment to the community’s goals. “The most important thing you need to live in a SLU is a passion for the house's mission. I know I said that a lot, but it really boils down to passion. LA CASA stands for Latin American Culture And Student Anecdotes. For LA CASA, you don't need to be Latino or Latina. You don't need to be perfectly fluent in Spanish, my Spanish isn't that great.”
“You just need to have a passion to explore and learn Latin American Culture, and a desire to share that with the rest of the community. I can't speak for all the houses, but I'm fairly certain that most houses also feel this way,” he adds.
After attending house events during the week, students were directed to fill out online applications for each house that interested them. The houses then conducted interviews, and informed new members of their acceptance on February 21.
Castro Cardenas explains that the purpose of meeting potential candidates is to get to know the applicant and how they would fit with the group, in order to create a cohesive community.
“We're not all the same, but the thing that unites us is our dedication to the house and the house's mission. For LA CASA, that's Latin American Culture” he said.
This helps create a community, which is an important aspect of living in a SLU, “My favorite part of living in a SLU is having a second family here on campus. I found a sense of belonging that I didn't really have my freshman year here. It's also helped me explore more of my own culture and to share my experiences with people who might never have been exposed otherwise,” concluded Castro Cardenas.