F&M Stories

Sneak Peek: Fall at the College Houses

Some describe it as Hogwarts. Many describe it as home.

Established in 2005, the College House system shapes the intellectual, social and physical landscape of the Franklin & Marshall campus.

Inspired by the models at England's Oxford and Cambridge universities (and popularized by the "Harry Potter" series), F&M's College Houses have onsite faculty members as advisers, residence halls, and large, open common areas that serve as "third spaces" where faculty and students meet for organized events and informal discussions.

"It allows students to bond and connect with peers. It gives students a sense of belonging that stays with them throughout their four years at F&M. I have even met alumni who talk about their house," said senior Flavio Hinostroza Baldus, a house adviser from Pottstown, Pa.

Students take on leadership roles as house advisers and members of their house government and collaborate on a constitution that serves as the house's guiding document.

These five distinct spaces — Bonchek, Brooks, Roschel, Ware and Weis — blend residential living with intellectual discovery.

For example, a reading group in Brooks is tackling Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables." Students in Ware will take a field trip to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary to watch the migration of raptors.

Below, current house advisers share their favorite thing about this unique F&M housing system.

Flavio Hinostroza Baldus '23

  • Bonchek House Adviser
  • Hometown: Pottstown, Pa.
  • Major: Psychology

Why I love the house system: It allows students to bond and connect with peers. It gives students a sense of belonging that stays with them throughout their four years at F&M. I have even met alumni who talk about their house.

Favorite house memory: This year, when I hosted a keystone [gathering]. All my residents came to play cards and even invited people from other halls. We were there for hours and had a great time.

Megan Bell '25

  • Ware House Adviser
  • Hometown: Shenandoah, Pa.
  • Major: History and American studies

Why I love the house system: The unique sense of community that each house creates, and how this community lasts for your entire college career.

Favorite house memory: When we decorated cookies for Valentine's Day— it was so fun seeing the great turnout and everyone's creativity.

Vyas Agarwal '23

  • Brooks House Adviser
  • Hometown: Kolkata, India
  • Major: Animal behavior

Why I love the house system: The sense of belonging you feel being a part of your house is amazing. It's a very close-knit community and you get to know so many different people and develop lifelong friendships, while being a part of something bigger.

Favorite house memory: The Phoenix Ceremony, which is unique to Brooks College House. You burn a piece of paper which has things you want to leave behind in college written on it, in a big copper phoenix. You also write something you want to grow into which is handed back to you when you graduate.

Keats Dai '23

  • Roschel House Adviser
  • Hometown: Shanghai, China
  • Major: Art with a French minor

Why I love the house system: It creates a smaller, more intimate community, where I live and make friends with my neighbors.

Favorite house memory: My freshman year at Halloween. Three of us were talking about going to Field of Screams [a local haunted attraction]. We kept inviting people from the hallway to join. Eventually, it became a group of over 10 people.

Darij Kulchyckyj '24

  • Weis House Adviser
  • Hometown: Annapolis, Md., although I went to middle and high school in Baltimore. I still resonate with both cities. I'm also Ukrainian American and Lviv, Ukraine is like my second home.
  • Major: Environmental Studies & Economics

Why I love the house system: There's always someone to meet and something to do every day. As an HA and upperclassman, relaxing in the common spaces is one of the best ways to meet new students that enter F&M — which is great because I get to know the campus life a lot better! I wind down almost all of my days just chilling with other students and HAs by the fireplace and talking to people that come and go.

Favorite house memory: My favorite house memory was putting together, hosting, and performing in an open mic in front of Weis my first year. It was during the height of COVID and I was one of few first-years living on campus. Through Weis College House, I was able to put on an open mic and gather many musical and artistic talents at F&M. I met so many upperclassmen and performed in and joined a band for a few months! I also performed for the first time in front of 100+ people and that was an electric feeling! One I'll never forget. And now, a photo of the event is hung up in Steinman College Center.

Getting Connected

Connections Courses, or CNX courses, provide first-year students with an introduction to the college classroom. Student preference is used to sort first-year students into CNX courses. Each CNX course, and the enrolled students, are assigned to a College house.

Students live with their classmates, often in the same hallway. Conversations spill over from the classroom to the College House room, promoting dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

Below, take a look at the diverse curriculum each house offers this semester.

Bonchek College House

Race Matters; American History in True Crime; Material Culture; Music and Emotion; War and Peace; Animal Welfare; The Good Life; Conceptualizing Community.

Brooks College House

Les Miserables; War and Peace; Environmental Impacts of War; Culture & Politics of Food; The Good Life; Storytelling; The Bible as Literature.

Roschel College House

Caribbean Identities; American History in True Crime; Unreason; Death, Horror & Humanity; Israel in Context.

Ware College House

Music and Environment; Machines and Their Critics; Entertaining Violence; Stories of Identity; Captivating Spaces; Why Shakespeare?; Medieval Cities; Ethics and Experimentation.

Weis College House

Forests, Wood & Culture; Gender & Sense of Nation: Latin America; Music and Environment; Slavery: Past, Present (Future?)

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