All first-year students are assigned to one of the five College Houses—Bonchek, Brooks, New, Ware or Weis—which are made up of several residence halls that face a common green area, an attractive place for spur-of-the moment games, soaking up the sun and meeting friends.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors also can choose the College Houses for their residences, which leads to a diverse mix of students, ranging in age and outlook, living and working together.
Each House receives a substantial annual budget that students may spend on social programs, décor, academic and community activities, special projects and more. Students disburse these funds through House governments that draft their own constitutions.
The dons and prefects provide a strong faculty and administrative presence to help guide students and student advisers through projects and challenges. Dons provide intellectual stimuli to House residents and are the go-to people for House seminars, dinners with visiting scholars, intellectual discussions and any ideas students might have about academic or social pursuits.
Dons can either help students pursue projects or initiate them on their own. Prefects provide liaison between residents and the administration. They can help students find the right resources for activities and projects and provide guidance to students facing academic and personal challenges.
Students in College Houses chart their own course for study and play. They sponsor faculty-student publications, formal dances, meals for the homeless, theatrical productions, redecorating projects, play-reading discussions and dinners with national celebrities on campus for lectures and study groups. They are the driving force behind a limitless variety of planned and impromptu pizza parties, bagel breakfasts and field trips.
Once a student finds a home in Bonchek, Brooks, Ware or Weis, it's a home for life. Even if students choose other housing as juniors and seniors, they are always considered members of their original Houses, producing a sense of House pride and a connection to the liberal arts mission that is not tied to bricks and mortar.
In fact, students in Franklin & Marshall's College Houses learn that a liberal arts education goes beyond the walls of the classroom and should illuminate every aspect of their lives.