Special Interest Housing applications due Wednesday

The application deadline for new and existing groups looking to create a unique living experience on the special interest community floors located in the Mahoney-Pearson residential colleges is quickly approaching – those interested must file their applications by Wednesday.

The university currently has five Special Interest Housing (SIH) floors, which accommodate between 16 and 32 students. Each floor has a faculty adviser who helps plan programs and serves as a mentor to the residents.

“SIH allows students to develop their own living community from start to finish,” said Emily Vaughan, the program coordinator at the Office of Academic Enhancement.

One of the newest floors is the International Quarter, which opened at the beginning of this school year. The floor houses students who are culturally curious about international experiences and diversity.

Group coordinator Cybele Safadi, a sophomore, couldn’t believe that an internationally-themed floor did not exist in a place as diverse as Miami.  Consequently, she and some friends submitted an application last year, found a faculty adviser and got approval from the director of housing.

“We wanted to explore Miami,” Safadi said. “We take advantage of diversity and resources,” adding that in a globalized world, it is important to meet people beyond your borders.

So far, IQ has been involved in several campus-based events and community service opportunities. Floor residents worked with other groups at the International Affair, which featured a variety of foods and activities, and helped raise money for Haiti.

The students also have taken trips to an Ethiopian restaurant, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the Art Deco District.

This spring the floor plans to raise money to financially adopt underprivileged children through planusa.org.

IQ consists of 30 students, mostly from the U.S., who speak more than 10 languages collectively – and there is room for more.

The group plans to reapply for recognition for the 2009-2010 school year and will open up to applicants interested in living on the floor.

In addition to IQ, the other special-interest floors in Mahoney and Pearson are La Casa, Wellness, Strive and Living the Green Life.

“Special Interest Housing creates numerous on-campus leadership opportunities for students wishing to join their communities e-board,” said Vaughan.

* For more information, Go to www.miami.edu/housing and click “Special Interest Housing”
* Get an SIH application at the Department of Residence Halls office in Eaton Residential College, Suite #153 – The application deadline is Wednesday.
* Or e-mail Emily Vaughan at
evaughan@miami.edu or Cybele Safadi at sibellexo@aim.com