By Ellin Youse
Residents of Ohio Wesleyan’s Small Living Units [SLUs] experienced excited anticipation and careful consideration last weekend as they recruited and interviewed prospective new additions to their homes.
The SLUs’ recruitment period, or SLUsh week, is each SLUs’ opportunity to promote itself on campus and interview applicants who identify strongly with the house mission statement. Throughout the week, each SLU holds an open house event that allows OWU students to meet the residents of the house and learn more about the SLU’s mission and involvement. Those interested in applying for a SLU can pick up an application and schedule an interview.
The number of applicants the SLUs ask back to the house depends on several variables, the first being the number of graduating seniors in the house. The second is the maximum occupancy of the house–for example, the Modern Foreign Language House (MFL) can hold 10 occupants maximum, while the House of Peace and Justice can take up to 17. Because each house has a limited number of open spots, senior Colleen Waickman, a resident of the Women’s House, said makes the decision process tiresome as it requires an intense amount of deliberation.
“It takes time and dedication to decide how you and your housemates would like your community to look in the coming year,” Waickman said. “Furthermore, there are so many amazing applicants and only a few spots that open each year, making decisions really tough. Although SLUsh week can be exhausting, it’s still very exciting and totally worth it.”
The SLUsh process isn’t just nerve-wracking for the current residents. Junior Kevin De La Cruz, a Citizens of the World House (COW) resident, said the SLUsh process is “definitely stressful” for the applicants hoping to find their home in a SLU.
“It’s just like anything that takes control out of your hands,” he said. “Not knowing whether or not you’ll be living exactly where you want to live can make anyone nervous.”
Junior Erin Parcells, a resident of MFL, agreed that the SLUsh process can be overwhelming as an applicant.
“You obviously like the house’s theme or you wouldn’t have applied,” she said. “You obviously expressed interest in living in the house so you want the people living in the house to like you in your 15-minute allotted time slot, so, yes, it is nerve-wracking.”
Parcells said that while the process can be intimidating, applicants usually feel more comfortable during their interviews, which often become effortless conversation. As for the residents, Parcells said SLUsh is “just really exciting.”
“It’s so cool to see so many people interested in your house, and you can only take it as a compliment,” Parcells said. “This year we had just shy of 30 applicants. It’s very flattering.”
The kind of occupant desired by a SLU is also variable, but this time in relationship to the applicant’s passion for the SLU’s mission statement.
“I can only speak for MFL, but we usually want someone who is rich and popular. Oh, and attractive,” Parcells said, laughing. “Kidding! We look for someone who’s super interested in languages and cultures, someone who gets excited when talk of travel comes up and is excited about going through the process and about us.
“We think it’s really important when someone loves the house without ever saying those words. People who really love language and culture can easily talk about how great language and culture are, without ever having to say exactly that. We never go for popularity; we go for people who we believe would do really well in the house and would contribute a lot to it.”
According to De La Cruz, extensive conversation and passion for the mission of the house are crucial during the SLUsh process because the applicants are not just applying for housing, but for community.
“Unlike dorm life, SLU life connects you with a community of people who share your same passions and interests,” De La Cruz said. “In a SLU you’re not only living with friends, you’re living with people who you can relate to, and who relate to you.”
In keeping with the idea of community, Parcells said an applicant who has little interest in the house mission and is mostly interested in a living option outside of the dorms and easy to spot. But for those individuals who are intensely driven and interested in finding others who are equally passionate, Parcells said the SLUs are the ideal home.
“To me, there is nothing cooler than living in a house with a bunch of my closest friends on campus and concentrating on a subject that I love,” Parcells said.
“People who are just as enamored with a subject as you are teach you things everyday. God bless the SLUs.”