The Office of Academic Enhancement and the Department of Housing and Residential Life invite groups of students to submit applications for Special Interest Housing (SIH) communities for 2012-13. Each group should be organized around a specific theme that brings students together to enhance their on campus living experience. SIH options provide a unique opportunity for upperclass students, who share a common interest, to live together in order to enhance their learning and overall experience at the University of Miami.

Special Interest Housing options during 2011-12 included: The Audio Abode, B.A.M (Bienvenidos a Miami), The BURROW (Breathtakingly Unbelievably Radical Residence of Wizards), CASTLE (Canes Advocating a Substance Temperate Living Environment), Foundations, Hashi, STRIVE (Serving Together Reaching Integrity, Values & Engagement), U Live U Learn, and URead.

Special Interest Housing options for 2012-13 will be posted following the annual group application process which is scheduled to conclude on February 17, 2012. The focus of future floors will be based on student proposed themes submitted during the group application process. In 2012-13 SIH communities will be located in Mahoney, Pearson, and Eaton Residential Colleges with building and floor allocation determined by the number of student residents requesting to live in each community.

SIH Goals
The goals of Special Interest Housing (SIH) are to:

  • Support student academic success and the educational mission of the University
  • Develop unique communities within the residential colleges that allow students to connect to each other and to UM through a specific theme
  • Create connections between classroom learning and campus living
  • Create communities where living and learning are dynamic and exciting   
  • Increase overall student involvement and leadership at the University

Community Criteria
The selection of groups of students to award Special Interest Housing (SIH) communities for 2012-13 will be based on each group meeting the following criteria:

  • Theme – Groups must have a title and theme, which relates specifically to enhancing the overall residential experience through exploration of a unique interest, as well as supporting academic and student success.
  • Application & Presentation – Groups interested in receiving SIH consideration for 2012–13 must complete the group application by February 8, 2012. If selected for a presentation, 2 – 3 group members will be asked to present to the SIH Selection Committee during the dates of February 14 – 16, 2012. Please see Group Application section below for more information.
  • Group Coordinator – A student Group Coordinator should complete the Group Application on behalf of the entire group. The Group Coordinator will also act as the point of contact between the group and the SIH Selection Committee during the application process. Additionally, the Group Coordinator will also be responsible for:

If the group is granted a group presentation

    • Organizing the group’s presentation to be scheduled during the dates of February 14 – 16, 2012.

If the group is approved as a SIH Community

    • Meeting with SIH Committee members to review Floor Member applications during the dates of March 7 – 8, 2012.
    • Organizing a meeting of all floor members to be held between March 28 – April 15, 2011. During this meeting an Executive Board (E-Board) will be elected and all future administrative floor duties will be taken up by the E-Board.
  • Floor Members – To receive consideration for Special Interest Housing groups must consist of at least 12 students. All students interested in being part of a SIH community must complete a Floor Member application (please see Floor Member Application section below for more information). The Group Coordinator will then meet with members of the SIH Selection Committee, during the dates of March 7 – 8, 2012, to review these applications and select participants.
  • Faculty Advisor – Faculty advisors will work closely with SIH floors to assist groups in reaching their goals. The Office of Academic Enhancement will work with each group individually to identify and match a faculty member who supports the theme of the community and will actively engage in the activities and mission of the floor. When possible, groups are asked to make a recommendation for a faculty advisor.
  • Programming – Develop a minimum of eight programs, four academic/educational and four social, throughout 2012-13. At least half of all programs should be planned with the faculty advisor.
  • Executive Board (E-Board) – Each SIH group will elect a three member Executive Board to be comprised of a President, Vice President, and Secretary*. The E-Board will be elected at a meeting of all floor members to be held between March 28  – April 15, 2011. E-Board members will be required to:
    • Carry out the duties of their elected position.
    • At least one member of the E-Board will be required to meet weekly with a SIH advisor.
    • Conduct biweekly board meetings, independently or in conjunction with their SIH advisor.
    • Hold monthly floor meetings with the entire SIH floor.

*Alternative E-Board structures consisting of different positions and/or number of board members may be approved for communities showing need.

Group Application Process
Groups interesting in obtaining Special Interest Housing for 2012-13 must submit an application by February 8, 2012 to the Office of Academic Enhancement located in Pearson Residential College, Suite #144. The Office of Academic Enhancement will notify groups if they have been granted a presentation no later than February 10, 2012. After the presentation process, the SIH Selection Committee will notify groups if they have been approved for SIH community space no later than February 17, 2012.

SIH Communities will be assigned living spaces in Mahoney, Pearson, or Eaton Residential College, and space will be awarded for one academic year. Each group will have the option of choosing/placing roommates in their respective block of rooms. Room blocks will be assigned to groups based on the number of student residents requesting to live in each community. 

Existing Group Application – If your SIH group is applying to return for 2012-13, a student coordinator representing the existing SIH group must complete and submit the Special Interest Housing Existing Group Application by February 8, 2012 to the Office of Academic Enhancement located in Pearson Residential College, Suite #144.

New Group Application – If your SIH group is seeking SIH approval for the first time, a student coordinator representing the interested student group must complete and submit the Special Interest Housing New Group Application by February 8, 2012 to the Office of Academic Enhancement located in Pearson Residential College, Suite #144.

Presentation – Groups selected to present to the SIH Selection Committee will be required to make a brief presentation on their proposed community. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes and address the topical areas listed below. There will be 10 minutes at the end of the presentation to respond to questions from the SIH Selection Committee. At least 2 – 3 members of the group should participate in the presentation.

Community Purpose

  • Provide a brief description of the theme & purpose of your SIH program.
  • How does your community's mission & goals enhance student learning and support the academic mission of the University?
  • Why do you need a residence hall to carry out your purpose/goals?
  • How does your group plan to be active and positive members of the University community if your program is selected?

Community Development

  • Discuss some possible programming topics.
  • What do you see as the ideal relationship between your Special Interest Housing community and other students living in the Residential College?
  • How does the existence of this community benefit not only the members of your community but the general residential college students as a whole?

Floor Member Application Process
ALL students interested in living within a Special Interest Housing community for 2012-13 should closely review the expectations below and MUST submit a brief Floor Member Application by March 6, 2012 to the Office of Academic Enhancement located in Pearson Residential College, Suite #144.

Members of the SIH Selection Committee in conjunction with the Group Coordinator will determine program participants. Students will be informed if they have been selected to join a SIH community on March 9, 2012, prior to the start of general housing signups for 2012-13 which are scheduled to begin on March 20, 2012.

For more information and/or questions during the application process, please contact Emily Vaughan (eevaughan@miami.edu | 305-284-3350) or stop by the Office of Academic Enhancement, Pearson Residential College, Suite #144. 

Floor Member Expectations – Students living on a SIH floor will be expected to:

  • Attend a mandatory floor member meeting to be held between March 26  – April 13, 2012 at which the floor’s 2012–13 Executive Board will be elected.
  • Attend monthly floor meetings throughout the 2012–13 academic year.
  • Actively assist in the creation and implementation of programming initiatives on the floor.
  • Participate in at least half of all floor programming during the 2012–13 academic year.

Failure to meet any of the above requirements could result in removal from the program.

Important Dates

  • February 8: Group Applications Due (Existing & New Groups)
  • February 10: Groups Informed of Application Acceptance & Group Presentation Time
  • February 14 – 16: Group Presentations to SIH Selection Committee
  • February 17: Groups Informed of Approval Status for SIH Space
  • March 6: Floor Member Applications Due
  • March 7 – March 8: Floor Member Applications Reviewed (Existing & New Students)
  • March 9: Students Informed of Floor Member Approval Status
  • March 26 – April 13: SIH Floor Meetings & Executive Board Elections

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why should I apply?
Special Interest Housing offers students an opportunity to live together around a common theme and engage with faculty and peers though programs, activities, discussions, and other exciting events! This is a great way to connect with faculty, other students, and become more involved with the UM community.

What are the benefits of living on campus?
Research has shown that students who live on campus make better grades, have closer relationships with faculty and friends, and are more satisfied with their overall college experience. Also, living on campus is more convenient, less costly, and students are more involved in campus events than students who live off campus. Plus students have a hall staff available to them 24-hours a day!

What am I expected to do by living on a special interest floor?
Students who reside within UM's Special Interest Housing communities are expected to be involved, participate in floor events and monthly floor meetings and abide by all Department of Housing and Residential Life policies and procedures.

How many students are required for our special interest community to be considered?
Groups need a minimum of 12 students to be considered for SIH community space. SIH communities will be capped at a maximum of 32 residents but limited space may exist to accommodate larger groups. The SIH Selection Committee will decide final building and floor allocation.

Are there any additional costs?
There are no additional costs for students living in Special Interest Housing communities.

What is a Faculty Advisor?
A Faculty Advisor is someone who works closely with the floor to plan programs, connect the group to other faculty, and serves as a mentor to the students on the floor.

What if I am unable to attend all of the programs/events in my community?
Attendance and participation in at least half of the special interest floor events is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, please speak to a member of your Executive Board. The success of the program relies on the initiative, participation, and involvement of its members!

Which buildings will house the Special Interest Housing communities?
Mahoney, Pearson, and Eaton Residential Colleges.

When is my application due?
Group Applications (Existing & New Groups) – February 8, 2012
Floor Member Applications (Existing & New Students) – March 6, 2012

Where can I get more information?
For specific questions regarding Special Interest Housing please email eevaughan@miami.edu or call 305-284-3350