Residential Life

Theme House Leadership Procedures

 Introduction

Thank you for accepting a leadership role in one of the college Theme Houses. We appreciate your willingness to accept the responsibility, and the Office of Residential Life enthusiastically supports your program efforts. We are available to consult with you about any aspect of theme house life. Please familiarize yourself with the Constitution and Application process for the house, and the theme house leadership procedures below.

Theme House leaders’ names are added to the website as contacts for the house, and they will receive e-mails regarding application submissions. The president and treasurer, if one is appointed, will be given access to the theme house budget. One person: the president, treasurer, or designee, should be appointed as the contact person regarding budget matters. In the language houses, the Language Assistants also have access to budget funds.

All forms referenced  are attached at the end of the procedures for your use.

I. BUDGET PROCEDURES

At the start of the year, budgets will be sent to each theme house indicating the starting balance. Amounts are for the entire year.

Procedures for accessing funds:

All requests for program funds should be made using the Program Fund Request Form

All requests must be made 48 hours in advance

When filling out the form, starred fields are required

The webform must be used to request Big Y purchasing cards or Purchase orders.

Big Y Purchasing Cards:

  • Big Y cards in denominations of 50.00, 100.00, or 200.00 are available to make purchases at Big Y supermarkets.
  • Submit your request with the amount and date required
  • Return the card, with itemized receipt, to the Office of Residential Life within 48 hours. Please note your name and the theme house on the receipt for identification purposes and so the correct account is charged.

Purchase Orders:

  • Students are encouraged to make use of Purchase Orders when using vendors who accept them.
  • Purchase Orders may be requested by submitting the webform 48 hours in advance.
  • Select the name of the vendor from the drop-down list of vendors who accept Purchase Orders. If the vendor you wish to use is not listed, purchases will have to be paid for in advance and reimbursed.
  • Enter the estimated amount of purchase, date needed and the name of the person and the house making the request.
  • The vendor will keep the white copy of the purchase order; return the yellow copy with itemized receipt attached to the Res Life office.

Vendor bills should not include tax or alcohol purchases and should include no more than a 15% gratuity, if appropriate. In keeping with the policies of the Comptroller’s Office and IRS regulations, an Itemized Receipt is required; a credit card receipt alone is not adequate. When placing an order with a vendor, inform them that you will be paying with a Purchase Order, and request an itemized receipt. Please return Purchase Orders in a timely manner, so the vendor can be paid. Unused purchase orders should be returned to the office, so your budget can be updated accordingly.

Reimbursement Forms: For all other expenses for which students pay vendors directly, a Reimbursement Form, available from the Office of Residential Life, and attached an itemized receipt should be submitted. Reimbursements take about two weeks to process, please plan accordingly.

All receipts submitted should include your name, and the theme house, and indicate if the expense is being shared with another house, or split between different accounts. Always include an itemized receipt; a credit card receipt alone is not acceptable. Please do not mix in personal expenses on a receipt.

Other funding resources:

  • Coordinating with the RC for events involving the entire house – please be aware that RC funds are limited
  • Checking with the faculty advisor or department coordinator regarding available funding from the department
  • Other Campus resources include Student Activities, the Social Council, and affiliated student organizations
  • Theme House Supplemental Funding

Theme House Supplemental Funding

Additional funding for Theme House programming is available by submitting a Theme House Supplemental Funding Application. Please review the guidelines and criteria before submitting your application. Up to 1,200.00 is available for each Theme House for the year. Experience has shown us that most programming takes place in the spring semester, so we encourage you in your planning to consider allocating 1/3 of the funds for the fall and 2/3 for the spring. For major events, you can apply to other resources for additional funding, or coordinate your event with another Theme House or group on campus to maximize available funds.

In preparing your application:

  • Submit your request 2 weeks in advance to allow time for approval
  • Make sure your event meets the criteria
  • Include a detailed budget
  • Report any funding from other sources

If your event is in a public space on campus, please contact Dean Fatemi in the Campus Center, as you may be required to fill out an Event Notification form.

For speakers and performers:

For Student Performers:

  • Residential Life will provide a Student Employee Appointment
  • Theme House and student performers provide a Student Performance Contract
  • After the event, students submit a time sheet.

Speakers and performers will not be paid on the day of the event, but will be paid directly by the college, to the address provided, after the event. Do Not Pay for services or performers up front as you cannot be reimbursed for these expenses, based on the policies of the Comptroller’s Office and IRS regulations.

Bear in mind, a contract is a legal and binding document. Before signing a contract, be sure your funding is approved. If you have questions regarding a contract, Dean Hannah Fatemi, Director of Student Activities in the Campus Center will review the contract with you.

Do not borrow or rent equipment from students. Damage to equipment owned by other students is not covered.

Please designate one contact person for the event, to communicate with the Office of Residential Life. Submit all forms and receipts in a timely manner to expedite processing.

Major events require a significant amount of planning; please involve house members and your faculty advisor in the planning process. Your advisor may be helpful in identifying and obtaining additional funds.

The process sounds more complicated than it is - so please ask for our help throughout. We enthusiastically support your programming, and advance planning will make for a successful event!

Theme House Mid-Year Vacancy Process:

Vacancies in the Theme Houses occur mid-year as students are confirmed to go on leave for the spring semester. The Constitution for the house will determine the process for filling any vacancies. If there is a wait list for the house, invite students to join the house based on the order of the list. Students returning from being on leave in the fall may apply and be accepted to Theme Houses if there are vacancies available. Students already living in the theme house may change rooms, if permitted by the constitution for the house. All room changes must be determined prior to students leaving campus for the winter recess.  For 12-13, all room changes and moves within the house must be completed by no later than Monday January 7, 2013. Please inform residents of the dates, so they may plan their travel arrangements accordingly. Students who are unable to complete the move within the time frame cannot participate in the room change process.

Applications for Fall

Prior to the Room Draw, students may apply to the theme houses for the coming year. Open house events will be held in all theme houses in February. It is important to publicize your events, to invite students to visit the house, and encourage members to invite friends in. Ask Faculty advisors for the names of potential members. Theme house leaders should check for e-mail applications, and follow up with students applying to the house. The Office of Residential Life respects the Theme House process and encourages students to choose a Theme House based on their commitment to the goals of the house. However, given the extremely tight housing situation on campus at present, we will need to make use of every available space. We encourage the Theme House leadership to fill vacancies with students who have an expressed interest in the house, rather than have them filled as needed.

Updates to Website/Application and Constitution:

Please take time to review the Theme House website and application and send any changes to the Office of Residential Life. Review the Constitution for the house to make sure it reflects your actual process. Changes to the Constitution must be voted on by the house members and approved by your Faculty Advisor, and will be implemented for the following academic year. Any changes must be confirmed prior to the Theme House Application Process in February, and the process as defined at the time will stand for the entire year.

The time between the start of Spring term, and the Theme House Application Process is very tight. The next Theme House Leadership meeting will be early in February, but advance planning will expedite the process.

  • Submit updates to the website and application to the Office of Residential Life before the end of the fall term.
  • Submit approved changes to the Constitution to the Office of Residential Life before February 1.
  • Submit the date and time of your Open House to the Res Life Office before the end of term, so it can be posted to the website.
  • Submit the name of the President to the Res Life Office before the end of the Spring Term. 

 

Please refer to the Theme House Timeline below

for important dates and deadlines.

THEME HOUSE TIMELINE 13/14

 

 

November 1               Final date for students to be accepted to theme houses for first semester

                                    Any students moving to theme houses must be moved in prior to Thanksgiving break

January 6                   All approved room changes within theme houses completed

February 4 – 7           Theme House Leadership Meeting Date TBD

February 10                Open House Dates Confirmed

February 12                All campus mailing sent out regarding Theme House application process

                                    Applications: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/reslife/housing/theme

February15 - 21         Open House Events

Publicity: Table Tents, Banner, Tabling in Valentine

February 28               Application deadline

March 1 - 6                Interviews, offers made to students, CONFIRMED acceptances

                                    Students accepting placement in a theme house are removed from Room Draw

March 7                      Theme House Rosters to Residential Life Office

March 15                    Room Draw applications due

March 15 - 23                        SPRING BREAK

 

 April 8, 9, 10            Room Draw 

April 18                      Theme House Room Assignments due in Residential Life Office

April 30                      Annual Theme House reports submitted to Residential Life Office      

 

April 18 - May 2        Create Waitlist of accepted students in priority order for each Theme House to work with over the summer.  Contact Residential Life Office with updates.

May 2                         Submit name of summer contact person to Residential Life Office

May 2                         Submit names of Theme House presidents for Fall 2014 semester