Intentional Learning & Service Houses

ILS House logo

The Intentional Learning & Service (ILS) housing program is intended to create opportunities for students who wish to live, learn and act in a themed or project-oriented environment. The purpose and intent of the Intentional Learning & Service Houses is to align with the Gustavus Core Values to create meaningful opportunities for service to the college and/or the greater St. Peter community. The five houses (Walker, Adolphson, Sjostrom, Peterson, and 10-0-9) are located on the east side of campus and are designated for occupancy by groups of 4-6 students.

Projects & Themes

It is imperative that the ILS Projects are actively engaged in the life of the College. Project and themes should connect to at least one of the Gustavus Core Values. Whatever form the project takes, it must actively reach out to members of the Gustavus community to educate or engage in meaningful activity.

What makes a successful ILS house project?

  • Connection to the community (Gustavus or Greater Saint Peter Community)
  • Dedicated residents willing to put in work
  • Realistic goals and events

Current Projects

The current ILS projects all support the Gustavus Core Values and add to the Gustavus community. Below is a list of the current projects. 
Want to get involved with a current project? Click here to contact the Project team lead. 

Community Health and Wellness
Creating a more accessible environment for the non-athlete student body to use our expanded Lund Center. 
Partner with the Lund Center Interns to offer Lund Center Orientations, workout classes, and sample workouts to students.
Fostering a positive health and wellness environment in the Gustavus and Saint Peter communities and growing the connection between Saint Peter youth and Gustavus.
Increase Gustavus community understanding and awareness of what an ILS project is and how individuals can interact with the projects.

Conservation and Wildlife Appreciation
One of our main goals through this project is to clean up the banks of the Minnesota river, the area around highway 169, and the Swan lake wildlife management area. Although it would be impossible to fully clean up these areas, we hope to make a difference in the cleanliness through our own efforts and through organizing cleanup events. The Swan lake wildlife management area is located 20 minutes west from Gustavus, and is the largest prairie pothole in the United States, which was a successful conservation project spearheaded by Ducks Unlimited and the Minnesota DNR. We want to help keep this valuable ecosystem in the best condition possible. Another main goal we have for this project is to inform more Gusties how to live more sustainably and actually get them to live more sustainably. Many students don't use their compost bins, use to-go boxes instead of Gustieware, and don't recycle properly. We plan on hanging posters as well as having informational events where we hope to change this. Our third goal is to collaborate with the Ducks Unlimited club to help raise money to preserve local ecosystems. Last semester many members of the house participated in a Ducks Unlimited bingo event where over ten thousand dollars were raised to help protect wetland ecosystems. Ducks Unlimited currently has some locally focused projects that we hope to help fundraise for by assisting them with events. Our fourth goal is to both plan and lead educational outdoor activities to help connect Gusties with the outdoors. There's multiple valuable public lands with outdoor opportunities in the local area that most students don't know about, and we hope to spread awareness, information, and help people enjoy what the local area has to offer.

Fundamentals Of Surviving Adulthood
Our mission with this project is to prepare, inform, and encourage Gustavus students through our monthly projects focused on personal excellence. Preparing for the future extends beyond academics and landing a great career, and through our project we aim to help prepare Gustavus students for many aspects of life to create well rounded young adults entering the workforce. Not only will the projects and workshops help prepare students for specific issues in adult life, but we also aim to help prepare them for unexpected issues by giving them the confidence and the skills to work through anything life can throw their way. We aim to inform in multiple areas of "life skills" such as finance, first aid, nutrition, physical wellbeing, and many more. We plan on doing this through hands on and in depth workshops and mini lectures. Hopefully the education will extend beyond just the main focus of the monthly project, and will provide students with enough resources that they can continue further educating themselves on such subjects to prepare for post-graduation. Lastly, in that same light, we want to focus on encouraging our peers to better themselves, and to encourage them that it's not impossible, and "adulting" doesn't have to be as daunting as it seems. Everyone starts somewhere, and if our project only helps one student feel more confident in the future then we will consider it a success. We hope our project serves as beneficial to those that are like us and feel overprepared in some areas of the future, but drastically underprepared in others. We hope to engage fellow students by addressing a rather commonly talked about amongst students, yet unaddressed need on campus.

Healthy Relationships House
We have many goals that we would achieve with this ILS due to the passion that we share for this topic. Our goals are categorized into three separate categories: education on healthy relationships, self-care, and community involvement. We will work together to achieve these goals through the monthly events that we put on as well as by providing our knowledge and advice to peers.
Our first category pertains to education. The members of this ILS house will do our best to educate Gustavus students on the components of a healthy relationship, how to notice when a relationship is unhealthy, and how to be a partner and friend to others. 
Our second category pertains to the importance of self-care. We wish to teach students about self-care and wellness with the intention of improving their daily lives and mental health. Individuals who struggle with mental health and low self-esteem are more likely to fall victim to unhealthy and toxic relationships. Outside of their relationships, they will also live more healthy and happy lives if they are taking care of their mental well-being. Our wish for the ILS is to provide students with further tools to aid in their lifelong wellness journey. 
Our final goal is community involvement. Here at Gustavus, it is easy to forget that we are living among a larger community of non-Gustavus-affiliated people which can often put blinders on our day-to-day lives and choice in betterment projects. Domestic abuse and unhealthy relationships are issues that affect many more people than just those on our small campus. With this ILS house, we wish to better the lives of people in the Mankato/St. Peter area by raising money for CADA (Committee Against Domestic Abuse) on campus, advertising the speakers that we will host to the St. Peter community, and gathering groups of students to volunteer with CADA in the area.

Sexual Assault Awareness
We have four goals and outcomes our project hopes to achieve. We first aim to further build on the relationships and impacts we have made in the community. Another goal is continuing to educate and spread awareness of sexual assault and the resources available to Gustavus students. Additionally, we hope to utilize the platform that we have created to further serve our community and encourage others to do the same. Lastly, we hope to maintain relationships with organizations aiming to serve victims of sexual assault. Our goals this past school year wereprimarily focused on educating the Gustavus community on the topic of sexual assault and creating a safe, approachable environment. This year we plan on continuing to educate the community, spread awareness of sexual assault, and provide students with information about available resources through our various educational events. Additionally, we will continue to build our platform that we have created within the Gustavus community where people recognize our ILS house, what we stand for, and have an increased desire to participate in and support our events. Our objective is to advance our project thisyear by having an increased focus on service for sexual assault awareness within the community. This could be accomplished through fundraising events, making tie blankets, and providing care packages to donate to sexual assault organizations and shelters. We also plan to focus on getting the Gustavus community involved in opportunities that would allow them to continue to support this cause and make a difference outside of the Gustavus community.

Application Process

Applications for 2024-25 are available online in January 2024 and due February 11, 2024. All applicants will be notified of their status by February 23, 2024.

  • One member of each group (the Project Coordinator) fills out the ILS House Project Application
  • The application requires students to fill out a calendar of proposed events for the year and answer brief essay questions related to:
    • Project Connection to a Gustavus Core Value
    • Project Objectives
    • Project Goals & Outcomes
    • Teamwork of House Members
    • Funding
    • Collaboration with Others

Application Review

  • Review panel will do an "anonymous-review” and scoring of the applications using a provided rubric

Offers and Housing Selection

  • The three top-scoring four-person groups and two top-scoring six-person groups will be offered spots in the ILS Houses via email to the house Project Coordinators
  • Groups that accept will be assigned their house-assignment (based on group size/project scope).
  • When the group receives notification as to their selection status, they will be given instructions with regards to Room Selection.
    • If selected, each student in the group must submit a Housing Agreement in the housing portal ( You should choose the option that your housing will be assigned to you. You do not need to do the roommate matching portion if you have applied for ILS, the review and selection process for ILS housing is otherwise done outside of the Housing Portal.
    • If not selected, students will receive notification to proceed with the general Room Selection process.

About the Houses

These College-owned houses are furnished with a bed, dresser, desk, desk chair, and closet space for each resident. They also include living room furniture (soft seating and coffee table) and basic kitchen appliances (refrigerator, stove, and oven). They are considered Residential Housing and all College policies apply. Gustavus parking permit required for red-permit spaces, City of Saint Peter permit required for street parking. 


For questions related to the ILS Houses, contact Residential Life,