Housed in Teague, Cobb, Carmichael and Ehringhaus residence halls, theme houses unite a diverse group of students with common interests such as speaking Spanish, living well, focusing on women's perspectives and learning about the health sciences.
Students work, live and play together to form a special UNC experience.
Currently, 495 students participate in the programs, and officials say there is an interest in increasing the number of topics addressed.
Kim is a participant in First Year Initiative, the largest of nine Residential Learning Programs offered in UNC's residence halls. She and 19 other freshmen who live on the same floor in Ehringhaus discuss culture and society once a week, allowing her to find a special campus community.
Kim, a business major from Alexander City, Ala., learned about her current housing community from her housing application. "I thought that it would make the campus seem smaller," she said.
Through her small group seminar, Kim has made a network of friends, including an undergraduate mentor and a faculty advisor.
David Jones, assistant director of housing and residential education, said the programs contribute to academic achievement because of the faculty interaction involved.
Kristin Wilson, a senior economics and Latin American studies major, agreed theme housing has enhanced her college experience.
Wilson lived in Hinton James and Joyner residence halls during her first two years of college. She applied to live in the Spanish House because it provided her with a goal-oriented environment. "Everyone chose to be here, and (we) have some common interests," she said.