Reflections ::: Fall Semester at The Grove House in Review by Kate

Hi PZ pals, friends of the Grove House, and blog readers alike!

As you all probably know, this past fall was a very busy time for the house. It seemed as though the house was bursting with energy at every given moment, whether jamming to some sweet tunes at groove at the grove, serving up some delicious lunch from the kitchen, or cozying up for hilarious, riveting, and heartbreaking stories at our story slams. For me, the Grove House has been a really, really special place as I’ve grown into the Pitzer community. I’d like to use this space to share some of the highlights of my experiences at the House last semester through the Grove House Committee and its extended community.

Fall Break

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While many of our fellow pitizens left during fall break to travel home or otherwise adventure off campus, the Grove House Aesthetics Sub-Committee (in this instance, comprised of Haley, Leonard, and myself) remained in Claremont to provide the house with some much needed aesthetics lovin’. We used the time to get some small-scale projects done that would give the house an even warmer, cozier feel. One project Haley took on was the making of the chalkboard sign (pictured above) on which we now make tons of announcements for the GHouse.

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Haley in the process of painting our chalkboard paint sign!

We also got some supplies at Goodwill and the dollar store to make colorful tea light holders that double as table décor.

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Adorable, right!?

The three of us also completed a number of projects to get the house ready for its gigantic pending birthday party. We made some banners that still decorate the house…

This banner was made out of some old books (including a sheet music book!) from the house that we repurposed into collages.
This banner was made out of some old books (including a sheet music book) from the house that we repurposed into collages.
The beginnings of another banner.
The beginnings of another banner.

We were also able to get a super special peek into the guest room at the Grove House. Guest room, you say!? Yup. The guest room is offline at the moment for people to actually stay in, but when it is available, you can rent the room for $40/night, which is pretty sweet considering how close you are to everything on Pitzer’s campus!

The guest room bed.
The guest room bed.
The gorgeous windows & curtains in the guest room.
The gorgeous windows & curtains in the guest room.

Haley and I also took on the daunting (and inevitably hilarious) task of painting the House’s upstairs gallery space. We thought it would be nice to provide an area during the birthday party where guests could write a note to the Grove House, either expressing gratitude for the space or voicing a “birthday wish” for the House. Instead of planning this out, Haley and I sort of just started going to town on this wall with leftover paint. Mind you, we had already been in the house for 2 days straight at this point and I think we had cracked….

Just going for it.
Just going for it.
Haley and I had minor panic attacks prior to adding the teal color in the center, but figured we had already started something so we might as well finish!
Haley and I had minor panic attacks prior to adding the teal color in the center, but figured we had already started something so we might as well finish!
Our final result.
Our final result.

All spruced up and energized, the house was ready for…

The 110th Grove House Birthday Party

Crazy as it sounds, the Grove House celebrated 110 years of living (I anthropomorphize the house a lot – mostly because of Haley – which deserves its own whole post of an explanation) and 35 years of residence on Pitzer’s campus in 2012. To celebrate, a whole bunch of Grove House lovers (including the House’s kitchen staff, the Motley staff, PZ clubs, 5C bands, Pitzer administrators and soooo many lovely community members) threw a gigantic party which included a folk fest, delicious food, workshops, art making, sidewalk chalk, dancing, and so much more. In essence it was an all-day Grove House lovefest? Yeah.

Ellen Harper teaching a ukelele workshop in the living room.
Ellen Harper teaching a ukelele workshop in the living room.

The day was made very special by the fact that we had so many people utilizing the Grove House as a place to teach, learn, and share ideas. Unfortunately I lack the pictures to show you, but the entire front porch of the house was filled with people learning to knit, receiving henna tattoos and face paint, constructing paper cranes, and participating in a bunch of other workshops.

Mmmmm empanadas...
Mmmmm empanadas…

Did I mention the food? THE FOOD. Seriously, wow.

Chocolate covered, caramel, and candied apples...
Chocolate covered, caramel, and candied apples…
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More baked goods, provided by the Motley.
Grilled corn-on-the-cob, assorted tamales, empanadas...
Grilled corn-on-the-cob, assorted tamales, empanadas…

The outdoor classroom was transformed into a downright magical space.

Tables set & ready for hungry community members.
Tables set & ready for hungry community members.
String lights decorate and light up the outdoor classroom.
String lights decorated and lit up the outdoor classroom.

I think everyone who participated took something special away from the day. At the end of the night, after the piñata (which was awesomely hand-made by Zenia Gutierrez) had been broken, once the sounds of the last open mic performances faded away, I was left with an overwhelming affection for those around me. While we could certainly not pull off a celebration of this scale every week for the house, the birthday party served as one litmus test of how much community members were invested in the house and in one another.

My fall semester spent working with the Grove House revealed to me many of the challenges of working for and within a community. That being said, it also proved to me that it was a community that I was inherently a part of, it was just up to me to determine what role I would be taking on to serve that community. I feel privileged to continue to engage with the Grove House and its community and to consider my place within it, and I hope that the spring semester brings even more exciting events at the House.

With love and gratitude,
Kate

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