Honors House brings K-State honor students together

Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian Justin Kastner, interium director of the honors program, calls on a student in his introductory class to the university's honors program Wednesday morning. The class is held at the new Honors Hall on College Heights Avenue which is also home to 55 honor students.

A partnership with the Honors program has opened up a brand new housing option for honor students. Last fall, Housing and Dining Services bought the former Kappa Sigma house and began construction to create a new honors house.

“It was a unique opportunity to partner with an academic partner,” said Andy Thompson, residence life coordinator for Marlatt and the Honors House.

The aptly named Honors House, which currently houses 55 honor students, is just like any other dorm except for its smaller size and about a minute walk from campus. Another noticeable difference is that Honors House students receive free parking and laundry. So far, only honor students are allowed to live in Honors House, but they are allowed to invite non-honor students as roommates, space permitting.

“I took a leap of faith when I decided to live here,” said Anthony Fink, freshman in hospitality and management. Fink said he heard about the house through a friend and was encouraged to apply to be an honor student so that he could live there.

“We’re like one big family here,” Fink said. “I came from a small high school so I like how small it is. I like knowing all the people here instead of knowing only a couple, like in a bigger dorm.”

Jessica Van Ranken, freshman in political science, said she joined the honors program and house as a way to challenge herself.

“I really enjoy it here,” Van Ranken said. “We like to hang out in the lobby and talk to each other. We usually go together and eat in Marlatt.”

Most of the students living in the house are freshmen, but Thompson said there is a good mix of students from a variety of majors, creating a nice balance. He also sees no problem with having a house that’s located a bit further from campus than the traditional dorms.

“The location is good. It’s half a block from Lafene, and there’s the K-State Wesleyan nearby, so the community is good,” Thompson said.

According to Justin Kastner, interim director for the honors program, there are many avenues that allow honor students to stay connected to campus. The Honors House is just one of them.

“I think it’s good to invest in students in the honor program,” Kastner said. “We want to help our students grow in their career and life development.”

The Honors House is not the only special housing available to a specific group of students. The Smurthwaite House is also associated with Housing and Dining Services. However, the two houses differ on one aspect, according to Thompson. While Smurthwaite does have some focus on grades and studying, Smurthwaite is mainly service project driven while Honors House has no such requirements.

“They’re both small and unique ways to offer more opportunities for a specific population,” Thompson said.

Both houses also have their own unique atmospheres based on the students they house. For Filip Garner-Lonsky, freshman in mathematics, the atmosphere of Honors House is what attracted him the most.

“I know it’s a negative stereotype, but in the other dorms you’ll run into people who aren’t here for an education but the parties,” Garner-Lonsky said. “I like being in a house where they’re a lot more respectful and are here for an education.”