Feature Story, Student Life

A House and a Home

October 5, 2016 – by Gopika Nair '18

Members of Ohio Wesleyan's Interfaith (IF) House enjoy a sense of community and family as they live and learn in the new Dittrick House. 

Ohio Wesleyan’s New SLUplex Enhances Family Feeling 

Two of Ohio Wesleyan’s small living units (SLUs) are settling into the Dittrick House and turning their new residence into a home. 

The University’s first “SLUplex” opened this fall with the Interfaith (IF) and Sexuality and Gender Equality (SAGE) houses moving into the brightly colored building that represents OWU’s first newly constructed student housing in 50 years. The SLUplex, located on Rowland Avenue, totals nearly 5,800 square feet and accommodates 24 students – 12 in each of its two sides. 

Lissette Gonzalez ’17, moderator of SAGE, said her favorite feature of the new duplex is its open layout because it has allowed the SLU members to have more organic conversations, making their house feel like a real home. She also said more students share rooms now, which has been positive. 

“A majority of the house live in doubles,” Gonzalez said, “which is a big shift from the old house where we [had] a lot more singles. I think it really helps because it makes us closer as a community.” 

One of Gonzalez’s favorite SAGE moments in the new house so far has been everyone’s choosing to stay in for a weekend, preparing food together, and watching a movie. 

Chase Smith ’17, moderator of IF, agreed the common area fosters a sense of communal living in a way their old house didn’t. The new space also accommodates more members and adds both comfort and convenience, he said. 

“We now have 12 residents instead of 10,” Smith said. “The common area is more open, thus it is more shared. The bathrooms are much more functional – three separate toilets and shower stalls as opposed to two enclosed bathrooms [in] the old house.” 

He said the Interfaith House hosted an Eid dinner Sept. 12, with professors, administrators, and students of different faiths and class years coming together for the event, which marked the end of Ramadan. 

“It was a joyous occasion and one that exemplifies the spirit of the house,” Smith said. 

Members of OWU's SAGE House are living in the new "SLUplex," the University's first newly constructed student housing in 50 years.

Adriana Rodriguez ’18, a member of SAGE, said their former house had its charm but could be awkward to live in at times. 

“It had some wear and tear, but just by walking in, you could see the history of our community in the walls of the house,” Rodriguez said. “It’s different because here we’ll have to build our history again while still keeping everything pristine.” 

Rodriguez also has enjoyed using the common area because of the sense of community it fosters. A favorite moment for her has been watching the presidential debate with her housemates because it reminded her of what everyone in the house stands for. “Yelling at the TV was fun,” she said. 

Ohio Wesleyan dedicated the new Dittrick House on Oct. 6 and recognized alumnus Doug Dittrick ’55 for his gift to make the construction possible. A second donor-funded SLUplex is under construction now and scheduled to open in January. 

Ohio Wesleyan’s SLUs have a decades-long history on campus. The small living units are themed houses with their residents living and learning together about a topic of common interest, and then sharing their knowledge with the campus and Delaware communities.