Fall 2001 marked the beginning of a joint venture between the College of Health and Human Sciences & Student Housing and Dining Services. The Health Professions House is comprised of approximately 240 students interested in health and service related majors and careers and occupy the five floors of Douglas Hall “C”-wing. This endeavor began with the vision to foster professional, academic, and personal relationships among students and faculty in a residential living environment. Residents are offered exclusive opportunities to enrich their college careers through academic, social, and services activities and special programming provided through the Health Professions House. One of our hallmark programs includes the “Dine and Discuss” dinner sessions with faculty and local professionals. The overall student experience is enriched through learning in an informal setting by introducing students to a topic and engaging them in conversation with the speaker.
Alexander Astin (What Matters in College: Four Critical Years Revisited, 1993) stated "the student's peer group is the single most potent source of influence on growth and development during the undergraduate years" (p. 398). Moreover, Astin asserts that "student's values, beliefs, and aspirations tend to change in the direction of the dominant values, beliefs, and aspirations of the peer group." He further emphasizes the importance of identification and affiliation as conditions of qualifying as a "peer group". In this framework, "Health House Ambassadors" provide leadership by living on the floors and assisting the faculty advisers with programming initiatives. Ambassadors are vital in the development of community among residents and in the planning of programs.
Involvement of faculty from the College of Health and Human Sciences has also been vital to the success of this endeavor. Faculty often visit the Health House for our "Dine and Discuss" programs and assist in planning field trips or bringing guest speakers into the house.