News | Student Life

ADI special interest house to expand next semester

  • BIG HOUSE | Three doubles, formerly for transfer students, will be added to Application Development Initiative's special interest housing on 113th Street next semester. Above, ADI members at a Cookies and Code event last semester.

The Application Development Initiative will have more space for coders to call home next year in its special interest community housing on 113th Street.

The group, which won the housing in the former convent brownstones, will gain three more doubles on the first floor of the building in addition to the space on the fifth floor that it occupied since September.

“It’s not a fantastic amount of space that would revolutionize the kind of events we can throw so much as it increases our community,” Dan Schlosser, SEAS ’16 and an ADI member, said. “It will feel more like an extension to our space, rather than a different space.”

Jett Anderson, SEAS ’16 and an ADI committee member, said that the extra space, which used to house transfer students, will be used to expand the growing coding community on campus and host smaller scale events to create a collaborative atmosphere focused on programming. 

“So far we’ve tried to use it for a lot of community events, and it’s great to have a space to use whenever because space is so in demand in general,” Anderson said. “ADI-type programming, in general, builds emphasis on community.”

With the growth of their club, ADI members hope to hold more events such as a Halloween Hardware Hackathon, where participants will both program software and physically build what the software operates—much like Homework Help, a robot that can solve and handwrite math problems built by ADI members at last week’s PennApps hackathon. 

Residents will be selected by a general application through Columbia Housing, with supplemental questions from ADI, followed by an interview conducted at ADI’s space in the brownstone.

“We just want to see they’re interested in living here—it’s more to make sure they’re a good fit,” Anderson said. “Sometimes we joke about bringing out white boards and making people write some code, but we don’t do that.”

One aspect ADI would like to focus on is attracting members to live in the community who aren’t necessarily committee members. Schlosser said that not all of the residents this year are ADI members.

“There are people I wouldn’t have been friends with had they not been a part of ADI house,” Schlosser said. “That’s a really great way to get to know people and build a stronger community.” 

Anderson echoed Schlosser’s sentiments as someone who moved into the space last year without being heavily involved with ADI.

“Basically when I moved in I didn’t know anyone I met, and now we’re all very good friends,” Anderson said. 

Both Anderson and Schlosser said that the application process for space last year was competitive.

This year’s central ADI event, DevFest, grew significantly in attendance from previous years with over 700 attendees, which Schlosser attributed to the increasing campus interest in programming.

“We’ve benefitted a lot from the space—it’s really high-value in terms of we’re able to leverage it to further our community,” Schlosser said.

elizabeth.sedran@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ezactron

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