Because our morning meetings are only an hour each week, we decided a few weeks ago to host a longer and more leisurely dinner-time discussion about the Grove House Community, the intentions we have as a group, and our hopes for the present and future of this space.
First and foremost, what exactly is the Grove House Community?! Well, it’s you! By very nature of reading this blog, you are already in it. The community comprises folks who spend much of their lives here (both students and staff!) as well as the occasional lunch-goer or story enthusiast; you’re already a part of it! A group of us show up on Friday mornings to plan and work on the house and its extending activities – formerly known as the Grove House Committee (still the same acronym, conveniently!). The GHC had an extended meeting tonight because it was long overdue, and also because we are charged with providing a summary of House and programming needs to the Steering Committee by the end of the semester. This is so that the administration has a better sense of what the community wants and needs out of this space before going forth with any major restoration plans. This is an ongoing conversation that is available to anyone interested in getting involved – if you would like to be a part of future discussions, morning, or dinner meetings, please know that you are heartily invited! Please get in touch with any inquiries!
With the knowledge that conversations over food are one good way of building community/family (thanks Zenia for showing me this every day), we had a lovely dinner (shout-out to Lisa for spearheading much of that project – from soup to shopping!) and a nice long conversation.
We took lots of notes – some of which have glorious doodles and I will scan shortly – and our discussion spanned from House-meaning to furniture to outreach to organizing roles to respect. I tried to compile much of what we talked about into a working set of intentions for the GHC.
The Grove House Community works to preserve, evaluate, organize, communicate, and strengthen all aspects of the House – specifically its history, spirit, and programming. We intend to facilitate a welcoming and engaging environment for all students and community members.
As community members, we hope to cultivate respect and love for this space by practicing and embodying our ideas about how the House and the people inside it should be treated and cared for.
As advocates for the House, we are active in standing up for it and making sure it is being used respectfully – as well as grappling with what that means. We aim to balance the Grove House’s use as a comforting home-space to many with the physical reality of it being 110 years old. We hope to be a voice for the House, and in so doing, to be present for all of the tough, fun, and amazing conversations and other work involved in helping it reach its potential. This requires active communication on so many levels – from morning Community meetings, to dialogues with the administration, to outreach to student and non-5c groups and individuals. We will take advantage of the wide range of creative tools we have to share information, including flyers, zines, emails, blogs, tweets, and good old one-on-one in-person conversations. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible about processes, events, and activities relevant to the Grove House Community
As organizers, we hope to encourage growth, critical thought, and joy among our peers through the many offerings of the Grove House – from a wide range of programming and events, to open discussions and forums, to thoughtful and visible guidelines about using and caring for the space. We hope to embrace tradition and celebrate creative innovation in the same breath.
As friends, allys, thinkers, and community members, we wish to remain both loving toward and critical of the house – continually appreciating and re-evaluating this space with an eye toward making it ever-more inclusive and attuned the needs to of a dynamic community. Our hope is that the Grove House can be a place that is warm and safe enough for people to push themselves beyond their own experiences and outside of their comfort zones in order to engage actively and compassionately in our community and beyond.
I want to thank everyone who came tonight for their thoughtful articulation; I really appreciate all of you. I also want to say that if anyone out there is passionate about community-building and interested in getting involved in the GHC in this way as we work on restructuring and improving, please please please don’t hesitate to get in touch; I would love for you to be a part of future morning or dinner meetings and to help you get involved in any way you’d like to.