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Alternative Housing: Themed SPINT Houses

Walking or driving along Collegeville’s Main Street, visitors to Ursinus are greeted by some of the college’s most unique housing options: the Main Street houses. 

These houses, purchased by the college for additional student living quarters, provide a cozy alternative to dorm living, especially for those who want to get to know their neighbors better.

Main Street housing has also given rise to Ursinus’ Special Interest (SPINT), housing program. SPINT housing allows certain groups to create a community based around shared interests within their houses.

Everyone in a SPINT house goes through a special application process, separate from the normal housing lottery. Each SPINT housing member must also create and host at least one event per semester that has something to do with their house theme. These events can range from poetry writing in the Writing and Arts House to creating Dungeons & Dragons characters in the Gaming and Technology House. They don’t have to be extravagant, and they serve as a way for residents to showcase what they’re passionate about. 

Samantha Hayslett, a junior who is living in the Writing and Arts House for the second year, says she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. “I don’t think I’d live in dorm housing. I mean, all of my friends do live on Main Street, so it would just be too far from all my friends. Also, I just really like the community of the SPINT house,” she says.

There are five SPINT houses on campus, including Writing and Arts House, which is located in Zwingli Hall. In addition to holding its own art show last year in the Zwingli common room, Writing and Arts House also presented an aptly titled, “Don’t Come to this Satire Workshop.”

At the Africana and American Studies House in Cloake Hall, students put on events like “Black Music Trivia” and discussions on the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality. Most Gaming and Technology House events, located in Schaff, involve games of all kinds, from video games to card games. The LGBTQ+ focused house, known by its residents as Queer House, is in 777 Main St. There, students can partake in discussions on queer characters in media or make personal pizzas and discuss pansexuality.

The final SPINT House is also the largest: International House in Musser Hall, where many international and U.S. based students choose to live. It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat since residents often choose to cook traditional foods from a certain country for their events.

While only sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to live in SPINT houses, they serve as warm and welcoming places where students of all ages can make new friends, learn new skills and have a little fun when the day’s classes are over. —By Audrey Pitcher ’19