Affinity Housing

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Griffin 3

Last year, there was a lot of conversation centered around affinity housing. For many students, feelings of tokenization, isolation, and general uncomfortability constitute a very stressful (and sometimes debilitating) reality of what it means to be a student here. This conversation about affinity housing should be put back to the forefront, particularly with the goal of producing actionable steps that can help move the process of implementation further along. To do this, we will first introduce what affinity housing is (especially in the context of Williams), and then unpack some of the research on the benefits as well as address common concerns. In this process, we will focus emphasis on why it is dire need for students at Williams. Next, it will encourage discussion on what the best kind of plan for affinity housing might look like. We will also examine affinity housing at different institutions and their implementation.
Questions to consider/come away with: how might it feel to be tokenized or isolated (particularly for those who have not lived through these experiences)? How might our current housing system be contributing to that? What are the ways that Williams is failing to support certain students (especially in regards to housing) and advantaging certain other groups (e.g. Off-campus housing)? What are the processes in which students can effectively call for change? What constitutes an affinity?