Themed Communities

A themed community is an environment where students with similar interests live together in a dedicated area of a residence hall and participate in programs that echo similar academic, social and personal interests.

Students who live in a themed 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.

What are the benefits of living in a Themed Community?

  • Help facilitate a smoother academic and social transition to college. Not only do Themed 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 themed 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.

  • Early move-in. Students who sign up for an Themed Community may move in to their residence hall room up to two days prior to Orientation.

What Themed Communities can I find at Whittier College?


This community is will be set up to cater 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. 

The themed community will provide an environment where first-gen students can live around other students who are sharing in their unique experience. Students will get to participate in programming specifically designed to help them succeed in all areas of their college experience. They will also get a full understanding of all resources that are available to them. 

Members of the first-gen community can choose to participate in the Summer Bridge Program, a two-day event that will allow students to move in early and attend workshops about

  • campus resources
  • obtaining an on-campus job
  • members of the campus community who are here to help you make your first year a success

Leadership Development

This community will be set up to help first year students develop equity-based leadership skills. This floor was created to help students develop leadership skills or improve their existing leadership skills. Students on this floor will be exposed to leadership opportunities on campus to help them put their newly learned skills into real world scenarios. The model being implemented is rooted in equitable leadership that helps students engage with their community to create a better society. The model focuses on collective movement while improving individual skills.

How do I sign up for a Themed Community? 

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

Residents chosen to live in a Themed 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 Themed Communities. All first-year students, regardless of major, identity, or background, are encouraged to apply for space in a Themed Community. 

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

If you would like to live with a specific roommate in a Themed Community, you must both choose the same Themed 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 Themed Community?

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