Welcome to Rotation 2021!
Welcome to Caltech's tradition of Rotation. Rotation is one of the processes by which incoming first year students can receive a house affiliation. Usually, 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 and have planned receptions and events online for first year students and the eight houses they are encouraged to get to know.
Rotation events provide a chance for the first year students to get to know the feel of the different houses and for the upper-class students to meet the newest members of our community. That way both can see where they might belong. Many houses show house-made videos and plan receptions and activities, which provide the first year students with 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 all 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 live in their affiliated House during their Caltech careers. In addition to the opportunity to live in their houses, students may participate in the all-campus unaffiliated lottery.
Kriti Devasenapathy, IHC Chair, summarizes the experience of house affiliation this way: "The house system is the foundation for both academic and social community at Caltech and allows us to accomplish more together than any of us could do alone."
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 upperclassmen to meet the prefrosh so both can see where they might belong. Many houses also show house-made videos and plan reception activities for the prefrosh, which provide the prefrosh 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. The Interhouse Committee (IHC) attempts to ensure a certain level of secrecy regarding the exact process, so that the confidentiality of both the first years, and those involved with their final housing assignments, is maintained. The selection process is usually constrained: there are only a limited number of beds in each house, and it is impossible to simultaneously meet the preferences of all of the first year students and houses.
Despite the constraints, 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 Booty House," and the house conducts a vote (the nature of the vote, again, varying). ("Booty House" is commonly used to refer to any unspecified house, and appears as the house named in examples of Rotation Rules violations.) 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. The only universal truths are that full membership is harder to attain than social and that 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 (email@example.com)
"Fidelis et gratus"
President: Logan Apple (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Let the deed shaw"
President: Chad Thut (email@example.com)
"I live and die for those I love"
President: Michelle Hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Spe labor levis, (Et spe vinum gravis)"
President: Nerys Huffman (email@example.com)
"Prend moi tel que je suis"
President: Alex Guerra (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 prefrosh 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.
- Upperclassmen 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.
- Upperclassmen 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.
- Upperclassmen 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). Each of these activities constitutes an honor code or policy violation.
- 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.