Theme Communities

A theme 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 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.

What are the benefits of living in a Theme Community?

  • 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.

What Theme Communities can I find at Whittier College?


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. 

The theme 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.

Gender Inclusive Housing

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 an individual of a different gender or sex. Residing in the gender inclusive community is voluntary and open to all Whittier students. 

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 your mind.