Program Houses are a major alternative housing system at Brown and encompass Greek organizations and Theme Houses. Program Houses foster a sense of community by bringing people of common interests to a common living environment, with the implicit understanding that said common environment is essential to the purpose and functioning of the house. Language and Cultural Houses give students the opportunity to speak a foreign language and to learn about other cultures. Theme Houses are formed around an issue or activity in which the residents have a common interest. Fraternities and Sororities enrich the social atmosphere at Brown and contribute to the community.
Program Houses enrich not only their members but also the Brown Community. The policies for formation and maintenance of Program Houses are defined by the Program House Guidelines, which are available from the Office of Residential Life and on the Residential Council website. Among other activities, Program Houses organize cultural events, throw theme parties, and volunteer their time in the Providence community. Many students have their most memorable experiences at Brown during their years in a Program House.
The selection process varies somewhat between houses. Fraternities and sororities organize a procedure called rush which begins in late January. Each Greek house holds open houses that allow interested students to become acquainted with the house and its members. Language and theme houses are generally less formal. All hold information sessions; some houses require interviews. (To find out more information about a particular house, contact its leaders or attend an information session.) Regardless of which Program House you decide to join, your choice must be finalized by Super Deadline Day. Moreover, your decision is final and binding - Once you have signed a commitment card you will not be permitted to participate in the Housing Lottery. Program Houses are a positive alternative to hall living; and all are encouraged to consider this option strongly.
Note: No housing unit at Brown may discriminate on the basis of religion, race, creed, nationality, sex, disability or sexual orientation.
Program House Placement to Accommodate Students with Disabilities
Program and special interest houses are assigned to specific locations within the residential inventory by the Residential Life Office on an annual basis. In the event that a program/special interest house has a student member with a disability whose accommodation calls for the house to be relocated to an accessible facility, placement will be determined after a review of program and other special needs of each group, a determination of the number of beds desired for that year, and consultation with the members of the program and special interest housing. Campus housing facilities to which a program house or special interest house could be placed to accommodate a student member with a disability are the following: Keeney Quad, Wriston Quad (except Wayland House), East and West Andrews, Emery/Woolley, Morriss/Champlin, Barbour Hall Apartments, Vartan Gregorian Quad, or Young Orchard #2. Student disability related accommodations under this policy will be determined through the registration procedure with Student and Employee Accessibility Services. Housing accommodations for students with a disability residing in a program/special interest house for the ensuing academic year must be requested by Super Deadline Day when program rosters are finalized in order to ensure that there will be time to accommodate their needs.
Program House Descriptions
Sophomores especially are encouraged to consider these houses. Below is a brief description of Brown University's program houses and what they have to offer, written by representatives of the Houses.
Buxton International House - Buxton House (Wriston Quad): Buxton International is the largest special interest house on Wriston Quad. Buxton International House houses sixty residents, approximately half from the United States and half international. The objective of the house is to bring together enthusiastic, internationally-minded people under one roof. The house seeks to promote cultural exchange through numerous events, such as dinners, study breaks, community service, and parties. Applications and more information will be available during several information sessions in February. There are 18 doubles and 24 singles available. Some singles may be available to sophomores.
French House - 87 Prospect Street (Machado House): Situated in one of the most beautiful houses on campus, French House is a community of Brown students interested in the language and culture of the French-speaking world. House activities open to the Brown community consist of parties, "pain et fromage" gatherings, film screenings, and cultural events. In-house activities include study breaks and optional co-ops. Each member helps to make French House a community by taking an active part in house management. French House has eighteen singles and six spacious doubles, some in the stately older wing of Machado and others in the newer annex. All Machado house residents have access to kitchens, an elegant dining room, a game room, several lounges, a piano, and a beautiful terrace and yard. If you are interested in the French language and its related cultures and want to live in an intimate, friendly atmosphere, then French House is a great opportunity to enrich your college experience. A conversational level of French is helpful but not required.
Greek Houses - The Brown Greek System is made up of a diverse group of individuals who participate in community service, scholarship, social activities, and who build a home for themselves upon the timeless bonds of friendship and 160 years of tradition. Fraternities, sororities, and coed societies offer many advantages. The Greek option offers students recently renovated and well-situated hallitories (Wriston Quad), computer rooms, exercise rooms, and TV and poolrooms available only to members, a strong sense of community. And you'll never have to deal with the lottery! The Greek System includes over 400 women and men from every facet of the University population; it is an eclectic body who have found in their houses a sense of direction and unity.
Harambee House - Chapin House (Wriston Quad): Harambee House is a living center for all those interested in the politics, culture, society, and other aspects of African culture. Harambee, meaning "Togetherness" in Swahili, is also focused on perpetuating a sense of community, academic excellence, and leadership for all people of African descent. House members are expected to participate in the organization and implementation of educational, social and cultural events, and community service centered on issues of African people. Members will also have the opportunity to enhance their leadership capability through elected positions on one of the House committees. Lastly, Harambee House residents will have the opportunity to live in a warm, inviting environment as they dine at house dinners or enjoy movie and game nights. Harambee House affords its members a challenging and dynamic school year and a community environment.
Hispanic House - 87 Prospect Street (Machado House): Bienvenidos a La Casa Hispánica, the house with more flavor than any other place at Brown! We are a community made up of sophomores through seniors with an interest in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. Members are encouraged to speak Spanish with each other. Hispanic House residents participate in and help organize activities such as study breaks, Sabores, Tertulias, ciclos de cine (themed movie screenings), community service projects, and our notorious dance parties. We encourage members of the Brown community to come to our events to meet new people and practice their Spanish with us (regardless of proficiency)!
Social Action House – Diman House (Wriston Quad): The Social Action House is a program house dedicated to social activism in all of its forms. It mixes and blends all concentrations and interests to form a hub for social activism on campus. Sharing four floors of Diman House in the center of campus, members spend their time outside of activism doing terribly important things, like building emergency pillow forts for Hurricane Sandy and hosting 90’s Nickelodeon character theme parties (so, so hip). Outside of Diman, members manage the Brown Venture Launch Fund and host community dinners to bring attention to important activism topics. Most members are involved in a public good organization, like the Food Recovery Network, BRYTE, Health Leads, Design for America, and over a dozen more. Originally founded as a gathering place for activist friends torn between Pembroke and Perkins, the Social Action House, whether through hallway conversations or impromptu parties in the suite, unites all those interested in building a better world and an awesome Brown experience.
St. Anthony Hall - 154 Hope Street (King House): St. Anthony Hall is a national, coed literary fraternity located at the corner of Hope and Benevolent Streets. As a literary society, St. Anthony Hall uses literature and learning to build a community of friends, both inside and outside the house. A national organization, this community extends down the East Coast to chapters at a number of colleges and universities. St. Anthony Hall is located in King House, a 100-year old mansion, complete with a number of lounges and a working fireplace. Members have a large variety of academic and nonacademic interests ranging from art to hard sciences, and covering almost everything in between. Despite the name, St. Anthony Hall is not associated with any religious organizations.
Technology House - Harkness House (Wriston Quad): Technology House is located in the west end of Harkness on Patriot's Court. It provides a community for those interested in science and technology to share skills, tools, ideas, and enthusiasm. Past projects have included restoring a pinball machine, making a rearrangeable fountain, and creating the ten-story playable Tetris on the SciLi. Techhouse is dedicated to assisting its members in their creative endeavors. No technical skills or experience required; for more information, visit the Techhouse website.
West House (Environmental House) - 91 Brown Street: West House is the environmental program house at Brown and its residents are a cheerful mix of people committed to environmentalism, social activism and the arts. At any given moment, West House is bustling with activity and you can always find people cooking foood, making tea, playing music and discussing how to bring change to the world. Unlike dormitories, West House is a small community of 14 residents. This provides the residents with a space where it is comfortable to develop new relationships with one another and to discover one's self while having a blast. Located on the corner of Brown and Meeting streets, West House is a small, cozy house with a balcony, living room and garden.