Chinese house to be located in George Draper Dayton in Fall 2008

By Colleen Good

Next semester, the Chinese language house will officially debut, but logistical concerns will limit its walls to within George Draper Dayton Hall. This is not the first Chinese house Macalester has had. In fall 2002, a Chinese House was created as a part of the four year Freeman Foundation Grant for Asian Studies. The Freeman Grant also included funds to hire a native Chinese speaker to reside within the house. The house was located at 233 Macalester Lane.

While no Chinese language courses were offered at Macalester that year, the house still had a language requirement for residents and residents of the house had to take their Chinese courses at the University of Minnesota. After that school year, the House disbanded, while efforts were made to increase the Chinese offerings at Macalester.

Because the Chinese program at Macalester has seen healthy growth in recent years, “The time seemed right,” professor Patricia Anderson, head of the Chinese house effort, said about the formation of the Chinese House next year.

In addition to the opening of the Chinese house, 400-level Chinese language courses will also become available next year. Because of this instructional growth, it was determined outside activities should be developed, “otherwise it seems artificial,” Anderson said.

The Chinese house was always intended to be located within an actual house, Anderson said. However, the current housing option, located on 53 Macalester Street, was not suitable for the program’s needs. There has always been a lot of emphasis placed on food preparation’s importance in cultural exploration in the language houses. When it was discovered that 53 Mac didn’t have a kitchen and would require other major renovations, it was determined that a temporary solution would have to be found. It was later decided that that solution would be a GDD suite.

Next year’s Chinese house will be made available for five students, though due to the constraints of not having a kitchen within the suite itself, a native speaker will not reside in the suite. Students will not be required to have a full meal plan, and can instead choose to use the commuter plan.

While a native speaker will not live in the suite, it is hoped that some Chinese house programming responsibilities will be built into the lab instructor position next year, Anderson said. The suite lounge will be used for house activities.

Applications for the Chinese House were due this past Wednesday. Future residents of the house will be informed as soon as possible of their acceptance. The suite will include two doubles and one single.