Reflections ::: Restructuring & Restoration Progress

The House, 1977 when it was first moved to Campus
The House had to be moved from its former location (then at Pilgrim’s Place, where it was about to be demolished) in three parts on trucks along the train tracks at 1 in the morning! It was followed by a small parade of students and community members singing and celebrating.

Oh Grove House, you’ve got me.

I’m entirely yours.

Various people comment on the way I sign emails, ‘haley and The House’ – they find the capitalization amusing and are curious about its symbolism. My friend Karen put it exactly right when she noted that it felt to her like ‘this is The House and you are its haley.’ Indeed – in the same way that people joke about dogs owning their humans, I belong to this house, and it’s never for one second been the other way around. That being said, it’s quite an honor to belong to such a space; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This position has been wildly more exhausting and exhilarating than I could ever have anticipated – who knew that last semester’s events would bring so much urgency and progress to the Grove House restoration, so many passionate new members to the committee, and so many fresh eyes and hearts on the aesthetic and programming needs of the house. I’m definitely proud of the progress we’ve made, endlessly grateful to everyone who has contributed to it, and at the same time, not yet satisfied with where we’re at – we have a lot of difficult, exciting work and conversations ahead of us!

For those of you who were following some of the Grove House happenings of last semester, I have some super updates for y’all, specifically with regards to the funding situation, which many of you got involved with and expressed concern about at our meeting with the President’s office last semester. We’ve been heard, and I am excited to let you know of some changes that are already in the works!

  • The Grove House is now included in the 50forward campaign as its own initiative with a fundraising goal, and you can check it out here:
  • Additionally, the Grove House now has a designated member of the Office of Advancement looking for opportunities to fundraise on its behalf.
  • The house interior has been freshly painted! It’s beautiful!
  • Finally, the first meeting for the Steering Committee to develop a 5-year plan for Grove House care and restoration happened on February 1st, in which we heard from a professional restoration architect about the various demands and considerations of restoration projects. In the immediate sense, we are working with advancement to develop fundraising plans and working with the GHC to better understand the Grove House’s use and programming needs so that any restoration and rehabilitation projects are undertaken with the Grove House’s actual use as a student-center and community space at the heart of it.

Making sure the house is still standing for future Pitizens and that its physical integrity is preserved is tremendously important and exciting work for the Grove House. But what matters even more to me is building and strengthening the communities inside and around this structure! This place has radical potential! I hope this semester we can involve more people in the Committee and talk about new and exciting ways to restructure it – the current committee is deeply interested in exploring more intentional, more effective and more collaborative systems of organization – it’s a major focus for us right now. I also hope we can engage in more conversations about what ‘community space’ really means to us all; In fact, I’d love for the house to host a panel and discussion about public space and creative ways of engaging with it – if anyone is interested in helping me with that, let me know! We have so much ahead of us friends – Story Slams, Grooves, open mic nights, open houses, art exhibitions, poetry projects, jam sessions, cookies, and oh so so so much more! I’m SO EAGER TO HEAR YOUR IDEAS!!!

Oh Grove House, Grove House.  I’ve spent all of yesterday and today with the intention of working on my Senior Thesis and instead surrendering to you. But the time has come; I’ve got to cozy up in one of your little corners and get back to my schoolwork. At least you give me some great spots to do that!

More to come!




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