Special Living Options

Students who reside in Special Living Options (SLOs) live and learn with classmates who share their interests. Students live with other members of their SLO in close-knit communities ("houses") located in the residence halls, where they have the opportunity to participate in field trips, group dinners, and other social and educational activities. Students build strong relationships with their fellow residents—and with the faculty and staff members affiliated with their SLO. In our SLOs, learning isn't just encouraged—it's celebrated.

Descriptions of Penn State's SLOs

Although priority for placement in a particular SLO is given to students enrolled in the academic college affiliated with that SLO, other students may be assigned to the SLO if space permits. Decisions on placement in each SLO are made in collaboration with the affiliated college.

Click on the link of the SLO you would like to learn more about:

ALLY House

Location: Watts Hall, West Halls

ALLY House provides an open, safe, and inclusive living environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and ally students. This living environment is a collaboration between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally (LGBTA) Student Resource Center and the Sexuality and Gender Studies minor offered by the College of Liberal Arts. ALLY House fosters a community dedicated to knowledge and understanding of sexuality and gender issues. Student programs and academic opportunities support these goals.

Arts & Architecture House

Location: Leete Hall, North Halls 

Arts & Architecture House is specially designed to meet the needs of students in majors such as art, music, architecture, theater arts, architectural engineering, and landscape architecture. Residents have opportunities to interact with faculty, participate in field trips to museums and historical sites, and take part in educational workshops. 

Arts & Architecture House residents live in North Halls, a vibrant community that houses three SLOs and is located within walking distance of the Palmer Museum of Art and the Visual Arts and Music Buildings. Students live in suites and share a communal kitchen (with limited cooking accessibility), art studio, music practice rooms, seminar rooms, and other common areas with their fellow North Halls residents. (Check out our room rates to compare the cost of living in a suite to the cost of living in a traditional residence hall. First-year students are assigned only to two-bedroom suites with a standard occupancy of four.) 

Biology Home (BIOME)

Location: Wolf Hall, Pollock Halls 

Make the BIOME your biology home! Designed for first-year students interested in the biology major, this SLO is dedicated to creating a strong academic community, while fostering the fun aspects of the discipline. Students will benefit academically from study groups (most of your neighbors will be in the same classes), tutor opportunities, and review sessions. On the social side, residents will participate in faculty “meet and greets,” guest speakers ranging from career mentors to interesting researchers, and a monthly, biology-theme movie night. Join the BIOME and get the most out of your biology first-year experience!

  • Open to first-year students only.

Business and Society House (BASH)

Location: Holmes Hall, North Halls 

In partnership with the Smeal College of Business, the Business and Society House provides educational opportunities that enable students to stay informed about current events in business, society, and the world. Residents get valuable career development advice, learn from affiliated faculty members and guest speakers, and participate in field trips and tours of local businesses. 

Business and Society House residents live in North Halls, a vibrant community that houses three SLOs and is located within walking distance of the Business Administration Building. Students live in suites and share a communal kitchen (limited cooking accessibility), seminar rooms, and other common areas with their fellow North Halls residents. (Check out our room rates to compare the cost of living in a suite to the cost of living in a traditional residence hall. First-year students are assigned only to two-bedroom suites with a standard occupancy of four.)

Discover House

Location: Beaver Hall, Pollock Halls 

Discover House, an SLO for first-year students that is supported by the Division of Undergraduate Studies, gives residents the opportunity to explore the many academic programs and majors offered at Penn State. Residents receive individualized attention from faculty members and develop strong relationships with their peers as they learn to make informed, responsible career and life choices.

  • Open to first-year students only.

Earth and Mineral Sciences House (EMS)

Location: Irvin Hall, West Halls 

Residents of the Earth and Mineral Sciences House live in Irvin Hall and develop close relationships with faculty from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences while learning more about geography, energy, meteorology, and the geosciences. Field trips, house dinners, guest lectures, and intramural sports are just a few of the educational and social opportunities available to members.

EARTH House

Location: Runkle Hall, North Halls 

The activities and programs offered at EARTH House reflect residents' interests in environmental and agricultural issues. Working closely with faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences, residents take part in recycling efforts, visit organic farms, attend guest lectures, and participate in a variety of other educational experiences. 

EARTH House residents live in North Halls, a vibrant community that houses three SLOs that work collaboratively to provide activities for the whole community. Students live in suites and share a communal kitchen (with limited cooking accessibility), seminar rooms, and other common areas with their fellow North Halls residents. (Check out our room rates to compare the cost of living in a suite to the cost of living in a traditional residence hall. First-year students are assigned only to two-bedroom suites with a standard occupancy of four.)

Eco-Reps

Location: East Halls


Eco-Reps are first-year students living in East Halls and are charged with promoting environmentally responsible behavior to resident students. These student leaders discuss ways that residents can adopt a specific lifestyle or behavior that will support the University’s commitment towards being a sustainable entity. An example of programming conducted by Eco-Reps may be encouraging responsible energy usage during the fall semester and emphasizing recycling and composting during the spring semester. Eco-Reps work together to design and implement fun activities that inspire their peers to follow sustainable behavior.

  • Open to first-year students only

Engineering and Applied Sciences Interest House (EASI)

Location: Wolf Hall, Pollock Halls 

Working closely with faculty from the College of Engineering, residents of the Engineering and Applied Sciences Interest House explore their options for graduate study and learn more about potential career opportunities. This SLO is designed to meet the needs of engineering majors, but is open to students from other majors as well. Visit the website for additional information on how to apply.

Engineering House (E-House)

Location: McKee Hall, West Halls 

This SLO gives engineering students the opportunity to interact with faculty from the College of Engineering and other professionals who work in the field. Residents also learn about the resources and services the college offers to help them achieve their academic, personal, and career goals.

  • Open to engineering students only. (Participating students' requested roommates may also be housed in this SLO if space permits.)
  • Refer to the Engineering website for additional information on how to apply. Housing does not select the first-year participants assigned to E-House.

First-Year Interest in Education

Location: Sproul Hall, East Halls

Students living in this SLO benefit from numerous activities to help them understand the opportunities and resources in the College of Education. A focus on career exploration, multicultural understanding, and service further addresses the needs of students exploring their options in this multidisciplinary field. Increased faculty interaction and academic support are benefits for residents in this community.

  • Open to first-year students only.

First-Year Interest in Liberal Arts

Location: Sproul Hall, East Halls 

Students living in this SLO benefit from numerous activities to help them understand the opportunities and resources in the College of the Liberal Arts. A focus on career exploration, multicultural understanding, and service further addresses the needs of students exploring their options in this multidisciplinary field. Increased faculty interaction and academic support are benefits for residents in this community.

  • Open to first-year students only.

First-Year in Science and Engineering House (FISE)

Location: Ritner Hall, Pollock Halls

First-year students in the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences may choose to reside in this SLO. Residents are a part of the Pennypacker Experience, which offers a variety of programs to help students learn more about multicultural issues, develop time management and study skills, and explore the many extracurricular opportunities available to them at Penn State. Residents are also encouraged to take advantage of in-house tutoring and mentoring services.

  • Open to first-year students in the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences only. (Participating students' requested roommates may also be housed in this SLO if space permits.)
  • Visit the website for additional information on how to apply.

Forensic Science

Location: Wolf Hall, Pollock Halls

Students enrolled in the Eberly College of Science's forensic science major may choose this environment to further enhance the University-wide, interdisciplinary approach of the academic curriculum. Activities that support classroom learning and informal interaction with prominent faculty will deepen students' understanding of this exciting field.

Health Education and Awareness in Living House (HEAL)

Location: Beaver Hall, Pollock Halls

This SLO is closely affiliated with the College of Health and Human Development and is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a health-related major, as well as students who are committed to healthy living. Residents strive to create a balanced lifestyle and achieve physical, emotional, social, academic, spiritual, and intellectual well-being. Yoga, stress management, nutrition, and physical fitness programs are offered to residents.

Helping Across the Community House (HAC)

Location: Beaver Hall, Pollock Halls

Residents of this SLO have many opportunities to participate in community service projects, including food drives, blood drives, Recycling Revolution, Habitat for Humanity, Alternative Spring Break, and Penn State's Dance Marathon. Residents complete 15 hours of required community service per semester and are also welcome to help develop social and educational programs within the house.

Information Sciences and Technology House (IST)

Location: Thompson Hall, West Halls

Students studying Information Sciences and Technology have the option of living in this SLO, which gives its residents the opportunity to interact with peers in the Information Sciences and Technology (IST) program. House dinners, monthly activities, and field trips give residents the chance to get to know each other and the IST faculty.

International Language House

Location: Beaver Hall, Pollock Halls

International Language House is one of the oldest SLOs at Penn State. Live-in graduate students serve as language consultants in Spanish, French, and German, and residents develop their language skills while learning more about other countries and cultures. International Language House also sponsors language events, ethnic dinners, and a variety of cultural celebrations each semester.

Be Engaged House (BE House)

Location: Beaver Hall, Pollock Halls

BE a volunteer. BE a leader BE the change. The BE (Be Engaged) House is designed to engage first-year students in service and leadership opportunities available on campus and in the community. Residents participate in service projects, leadership activities, and involvement opportunities throughout the year. Through these, students learn about the ways that they can contribute to the Penn State, local, and global communities now and in the future.

Liberal Arts Paterno Fellows House

Location: Sproul Hall, East Halls

First-year students in the College of Liberal Arts who are intending to become a Paterno Fellows may select this SLO, where residents are committed to aspiring to the signature honors and leadership program. This program is only offered to Liberal Arts students, in cooperation with the Schreyer Honors College. Students will enroll in suitable honors courses during their first year, seek academic excellence, and participate in the program's other offerings. Residents will enjoy cocurricular and extracurricular opportunities associated with the Paterno Fellows Program, as well as in-house offerings and mentoring activities that contribute to their social and academic success.

  • Open to all first-year students in the College of Liberal Arts who are self-selecting as Paterno Fellows aspirants. Students enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) with a serious interest in Liberal Arts and with a commitment of taking four honors courses in their first year at Penn State may also request this SLO with permission of program staff (email for permission).

Living in a Free Environment (LIFE) House

Location: Beaver Hall, Pollock Halls

This SLO was designed to meet the needs of students who wish to live in a substance-free environment. Residents of this SLO complete a Community Living Agreement to articulate their commitment to a substance-free lifestyle. Student leaders and resident assistants (RAs) plan a variety of social activities that complement a substance-free lifestyle--and work together to ensure that the living environment remains free of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Schreyer Honors College Living & Learning Environment

Location: Atherton Hall & Simmons Hall, South Halls

Located in close proximity to the administrative offices of Schreyer Honors College, this SLO supports Schreyer Scholars, providing them with a number of opportunities to participate in academic and social activities. Over 65 percent of the residents of Atherton and Simmons are Schreyer Scholars, and all residents have access to the computer labs and music practice rooms located in these residence halls. A $25.00 living-learning fee is charged each semester to all residents on their student account.

  • Any student may request to live in this scholarly residential environment, but priority is given to Schreyer Scholars.

Sophomore Year Experience (SYE)

Location: Hiester Hall, Pollock Halls; Harris Hall, Eastview Terrace

Students living in this special living-learning environment will have the opportunity to engage in discussion and experiences focused on the particular needs associated with the sophomore year. During this transitional time members of the community will have a chance to explore issues of personal growth and identity, self-discovery and responsibility, leadership and mentoring, and cultivation of positive relationships. Special enrichment topics throughout the academic year may include career guidance; planning for study abroad; involvement in student activities; availability of services; acquiring financial assistance; as well as others, based on the needs of the particular students represented in the current year's SYE cohort.

Tri-Service ROTC House

Location: Brumbaugh Hall, East Halls

Students with the ambition to become officers in the Armed Services can live surrounded by like-minded individuals fostering both personal and professional growth and development. Residents benefit from the mentoring of both upper-class students and the ROTC staff while living in an environment where respect, integrity, duty, honor, and the rest of the military's core values are part of the atmosphere.

  • Open to first-year students only.

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) House

Location: Wolf Hall, Pollock Halls

WISE House is designed to give women students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields a supportive living environment to help participants make it through these challenging and predominantly male majors. As members of WISE House, residents benefit from educational programming, social activities, career networking, academic assistance, and leadership opportunities all while living and networking with other women in similar fields of study. This SLO is affiliated with the University’s Women in the Sciences and Engineering Institute. WISE House is open to any female student, but preference is given to students in the colleges of AG, EMS, ENGR, HHD, IST, and SCI or those with intensive math and science requirements for their degree.