Writers House inscribes new chapter for residential living

In January, Geneseo, following in the success of Dante House in Wayne Hall, will open its second residential college house in the newly constructed Seneca Hall.

Writers House will provide an interactive community for students interested in any type of writing, from traditional poetry and stories to blogging and songwriting.

"Writing is something that cuts across disciplines, and we are not strict in the way we define writers," said Celia Easton, dean of residential living. "The ideal is that we pull in people with all different backgrounds who will all have something to contribute."

According to Kim Bilinski, area coordinator for Ontario and Seneca Halls, the house will accept 80 students, which will ideally be represented equally by each class. Students will be allowed to homestead in Writers House, making it possible for a student to live there all four years.

The programming in the hall will be resident-based.

"All residents will essentially act as Hall Council and decide what they want to see this year and next," said Sarah Greaves, newly selected assistant resident director for Seneca Hall.

Bilinski said she hopes to see a range of student involvement in projects like a hall blog or newsletter coupled with readings and message boards for posting student work and feedback.

Seneca Hall also contains a classroom in which writing workshops or other programs can be held, as well as basement apartments for visiting professors or speakers to live in during their stays.

So far, there has been a lot of interest in the new hall.

"There has been good attendance at the information sessions," Bilinski said. "There is definitely a buzz about it." Easton also noted that several applications have already been submitted.

For Greaves, the decision to apply for the ARD position was an easy one.

"Writers House is going to be one of the best experiences for this campus and the students who live there," she said. "It will be an amazing experience to watch it grow."

For junior Steve Shon, applying to Writers House holds the appeal of living among people with a similar interest.

"On a Sunday night, you'll hear people shouting back and forth across the suite about a football game," he said. "I thought it might be cool to live in a place where people would shout about the latest Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman book, too."

Easton said that there are no immediate plans for more residential college housing until, "we make an assessment of what we have." She also expects a larger number of students to apply to Writers House for the fall due to the difficulties involved in moving halfway through the year.

The application deadline for Writers House is Nov. 14. For more information, students can visit go.geneseo.edu/writershouse.