Residential Communities at Whittier College


Theme communities provide a supportive, living-learning environment for students who share common interests and life experiences.

Students who live in a theme community, will have the opportunity to engage in programs like field trips, group discussions, dinners and have increased exposure to opportunities on and off-campus. Students will be part of a close-knit community that encourages academic success, promotes supportive and safe environments, supports personal growth, cultivates social responsibility, and creates leaders.

Benefits of Theme Communities

  • Help facilitate a smoother academic and social transition to college. Not only do Theme Communities ease your transition to college, they expand your intellectual curiosity beyond the classroom and establish an immediate sense of community with your peers, faculty and staff.
  • To create strong academic skills to aid in academic success. Research demonstrates that students living in a theme community report higher grade point averages, are more likely to graduate on time, and enjoy a better college experience overall.
  • Make friends. You will be able to develop relationships with peers who have similar interests.
  • Develop an openness to views different from your own. Through programs, group discussions, dinners, and other events, you will have the opportunity to learn about others different from yourself.

Theme Communities

Gender-inclusive housing at Whittier College provides an affirming, safe, and welcoming community living option for students regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. In this community, students may room with individuals of different gender or sex. Residing in the gender-inclusive community is voluntary and open to all Whittier students. This is located in Harris A.

The First-Generation-themed community housing at Whittier College in Wanberg Hall will provide an environment where first-gen students can live and share their unique experiences with peers. Students will participate in programming designed to help first-gen students succeed in all areas of their college experience. This community caters to the needs of first-generation college students. Whittier College recognizes a first-generation college student as someone whose parent or guardian has not received a four-year degree in the United States. They will also get a full understanding of all resources that are available to them.

The E-Sports-themed community housing at Whittier College will offer students with a strong interest in gaming from all levels of experience the opportunity to share an inclusive community with other gamers. Located in Ball Hall, residents may choose to reside in a community that shares an interest in gaming, leadership, and communal living. From entry-level gamers all the way to serious eSports competitors, residents of this community will find opportunities to forge friendships in a small group setting based on a shared love of gaming.

Sankofa Collective-themed community housing at Whittier College will provide an environment where Black and African-American-identifying students can reside with others, share experiences, and participate in meaningful connections and leadership opportunities to benefit their college experience. This themed community offers many opportunities to study, socialize, promote cultural enrichment and awareness, and continue to grow academically. Located in Stauffer Hall, this themed community partners with the Office of Equity and Inclusion and is open to all Whittier College students.

Sankofa is an Akan term that means “to return, to go back and get it, to seek.” It is the idea that in our past, we find the power and strength to create a brighter future. “Sankofa” affirms that our past gives us the necessary context we must use to move forward.*

Questions about Theme Communities

How do I sign up for a Theme Community? 

You can apply to be a part of a Theme Community when you complete your housing application. Simply indicate your preference under "Theme Communities." Each Theme Community has a strict capacity and space will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents approved to live in a Theme Community will receive notification in early or mid-July. 

Residents chosen to live in a Theme Community are expected to be active members of the community and to commit to their housing arrangement. Room changes will not be permitted until the third week of the semester. Only double room occupancy spaces are available in the Theme Communities. All first-year students, regardless of major, identity, or background, are encouraged to apply for space in a Theme Community. 

Can I choose my roommate if I choose to reside in a Theme Community? 

If you would like to live with a specific roommate in a Theme Community, you must both choose the same Theme Community in the housing application and name each other as desired roommates when prompted. You will be placed with your preferred roommate, as space allows, if this step is fulfilled and the application is completed. Please be sure to cancel all other pending roommate requests in order to reduce confusion during the placement process.

Am I required to live in a Theme Community?

First-year students are not required to live in a Theme community but are strongly encouraged to do so. Since space in the Theme Communities are limited, it is advised that you do not request to live in a Theme Community if you are unsure about your choice when you submit your housing application. You may email the Housing & Residential Life during the summer to check on availability if you change