Welcome to Rotation 2021
At Caltech we are committed to making sure students are connected to their peers and have the opportunities to live on campus in a community that is social, safe and fun. All our residential communities offer opportunities for leadership and involvement and all have important support structures available to residents. Houses are also an academic resource and a support structure--each one has upperclass students who are Peer Advocates, Health Advocates, ARC representatives, SURF ambassadors, teaching assistants, and generally amazing sources of advice for succeeding at Caltech. In addition to student supports, houses also include Resident Associates and Residential Life Coordinators.
Caltech students benefit from being part of Caltech's unique house system. Our system is made up of eight distinct houses that all are part of the important social and cultural fabric of the undergraduate experience. You can learn more about each house below. Students also enjoy getting to create their own experiences by choosing to build community in the Bechtel residence. Bechtel is a new experience that offers students the chance to live and meet students in the house system, but also allows members of the community to also create additional friendships and experiences beyond the house system.
First year students (including transfer students and those who were on leave for rotation last year) are given the opportunity to participate in rotation. This is the formal, algorithm-driven structure for initial house affiliation. This year's rotation will take place between January 4 - 13, 2021. During rotation, first year students get to meet members of each house, participate in house activities that showcase their unique cultures, and then rank the houses according to their preferences. There is more information on rotation below. After rotation, students may also affiliate with a house by getting to know the members and individually seeking membership through that house's membership process. Rotation is available only during the first year and cannot be deferred, whereas the individual house membership process is available throughout a student's career. Students who opt for membership in one of the houses may live in the house or may live in the Bechtel residence.
If you choose not to be a member of a house Caltech will ensure that you have housing in one of our unaffiliated housing options, most often Bechtel. It is important to remember that this year's rotation is for membership only and that housing decisions and room selection will be determined later.
We know you have questions - this isn't a normal year. We have tried to anticipate those questions in the Rotation FAQ and the Information Session held on December 3 (log in with your Access credentials to view the video). If we have missed something, please connect with us during IHC Office Hours and/or see the "Contact Us" tab below to reach out via email. Concerns may also be reported through this form.
IHC Office Hours
Sundays, 7-8pm PST
Thursdays, 12-1pm PST
Below you will find this year's rotation events and instructions on how to participate. For additional information, please see the Rotation FAQ.
What is Rotation?
Rotation is one of the processes by which incoming first year students can receive a House affiliation. Upon first arriving at Caltech, incoming first year students spend a week eating dinners in all of the houses, getting to meet people and learn about the culture in all of the houses. This year, we will be hosting virtual receptions to provide this opportunity.
These meetings are a chance both for the first year students to get to know the feel of the different houses and for the upperclass students to meet the first year students so both can see where they might belong. Many houses also show house-made videos and plan reception activities for the first years, which provide the first years additional information about the various personalities of the houses. Over the weekend, the houses will also be hosting large-group events. At the end of this week, the first year students rank each of the eight houses in order of preference. Based on this, and the feedback of the houses' existing members, they are given a house affiliation which gives them access to House-specific trips, events, and activities as well as the opportunity to opt into living in their affiliated house in addition to the all-campus unaffiliated lottery, in which all students can participate. This two-way selection process of joining a house, and social interaction after joining, gives each house a distinctive personality that is stable over decades.
There is a second way to obtain membership in a House: to apply after rotation. The process varies from house to house, but in general one makes an announcement at dinner to the effect of "I would like to be a member of your House," and the house conducts a vote (the nature of the vote, again, varying). All houses except Ricketts have two tiers of memberships: full members and social members.
Anyone who rotates into a house is automatically a full member; individuals who would like to become members afterward can choose between full and social membership. The processes of attaining full and social memberships differ from house to house, as do the relative privileges that each membership type affords. Full members can opt into a House room selection process, while social members may not. Generally speaking, social members are able to attend all house social events (ski trips, hikes, etc.).
Monday, January 4 - Start of Term
Tuesday, January 5
6:00-7:00pm | Reception 2
Wednesday, January 6
5:30-6:30pm | Reception 3
Thursday, January 7
5:30-6:30pm | Reception 4
Friday, January 8
5:30-6:30pm | Reception 5
Saturday, January 9
4:00-7:00pm (Variable) | House Events
Sunday, January 10
5:00-6:00pm | Reception 7
Monday, January 11 - Rank Survey Out
5:30-6:30pm | Reception 8
Tuesday, January 12
10:00-11:00pm | Makeup Reception
Wednesday, January 13 - Rank Survey Due
"Sed nvlla nisi ardva virtvs"
President: Irene Crowell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Fidelis et gratus"
President: Logan Apple (email@example.com)
"Let the deed shaw"
President: Chad Thut (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"I live and die for those I love"
President: Michelle Hyun (email@example.com)
"Spe labor levis, (Et spe vinum gravis)"
President: Nerys Huffman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Prend moi tel que je suis"
President: Alex Guerra (email@example.com)
If students choose to forego the rotation process and remain unaffiliated through Spring term, they will be eligible to participate in the Unaffiliated Housing Lottery to secure themselves housing in either the Bechtel Residence or Marks and Braun Houses. These three locations are not affiliated with any house, and any student is eligible to live in these spaces regardless of affiliation.
The Bechtel Residence is our newest building on campus. The housing options available in Bechtel include 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-bedroom suites as well as a handful of standalone suite singles. In the suites, residents will each have their own private bedroom and common lounge space with tables, chairs, a sofa, and a micro-fridge, as well as bathroom facilities shared among suitemates. The standalone suite singles are single rooms with a private bathroom.
Bechtel also offers student support structures through the Office of Residential Experience including a Residential Life Coordinator (RLC), a professional live-in staff member; 6 Resident Associates (RAs), graduate students at Caltech trained to support undergraduate students and supervised by the RLC; and 2 Faculty in Residence, Caltech faculty members and their families.
Marks and Braun Houses are two small buildings located just south of the Center for Student Services (CSS) on campus. Each building is comprised of single rooms with shared bathrooms, and a small number of 2-bedroom suites (2 single rooms that share a bathroom). Each building has a Resident Associate to support the students living in these unaffiliated spaces.
Details about the Unaffiliated Housing Lottery will be available at the start of Spring Term 2021, but any first year students who do not choose an affiliation through Rotation will be able to choose a housing option in unaffiliated housing. Students who choose an affiliation through rotation are also eligible to participate in the Unaffiliated Housing Lottery. This allows for groups of affiliated and unaffiliated students to choose to live together in suites in Bechtel, including if groups of friends would like to live together in Bechtel suites.
Rotation is an opt-in process where incoming students choose which residences they like best. The IHC asks those who participate in rotation to follow these guidelines to ensure adherence to the law, the honor code, the code of conduct, and the spirit of rotation. Rotation guidelines will be in effect during the first year experience and during rotation.
First Year Students
- First year students may speak freely about their experiences in the residences with others. We recommend frosh do not share their rankings with each other and upperclassmen, as the decision on where they feel they fit in best is a personal one.
- As per institute policy, first year students may not drink alcohol or take illicit drugs during rotation.
- Frosh should not feel pressure to rank any residence a certain way, remain in a given environment, or interact with other people who make them uncomfortable. If this occurs, they are encouraged to reach out to a member of the IHC, the ORE, an RA, an RLC, or the Deans.
- Upperclass students may speak freely about direct, personal experiences within the residential system at Caltech. To encourage fairness and accuracy, we ask students to focus on their own experiences in the residences rather than rely on rumors or other potentially false information. Discussing specific experiences you have had in houses other than your own is allowed.
- Upperclass students should not tell frosh how to rank houses but rather give frosh useful information to help them get a clear and accurate picture of campus. Frosh should be encouraged to make their own decisions.
- Upperclass students may not share the house list data with frosh, give frosh alcohol or other psychoactive substances, or give frosh gifts to encourage them to join a specific house (i.e. taking them off campus for >4 hours, excluding preseason athletes on trips with their sports team).
- Along with the normal event registration process, IHC must approve any large events, prop sheets, videos, and advertisements.
All rotation rules are guidelines to follow that will facilitate the rotation process. If a serious violation of the Code of Conduct or the Honor Code occurs during rotation, you may be asked to meet with the Deans, RAs, or RLCs.
General Contact Information
This form is to report potential cases of concern to the IHC. Alternatively, you may report this same information to us in person or to any Dean, RA, or RLC. You may also ask questions through this form.
Cases of concern can be anonymously reported or self-reported, for reasons including but not limited to: experiencing disconnection from the Rotation process, individual/specific needs regarding House affiliation that are not being addressed, discomfort with an individual within the Rotating class, or any suggestions for assisting members of the Rotating class to affiliate successfully.
Information from this form will be shared with the Cases of Concern Committee. For confidential resources, please reach out to the Counseling Center.