Community Housing at Haverford

A portion of our costumed guests at Nerd House's Halloween Party

A portion of our costumed guests at Nerd House’s Halloween Party

Hello, friends!  One thing I love about Haverford is community housing.  After freshman year, a group of interested students can join together and apply to live in an on-campus house (Yarnall) or one of three apartments set aside for community housing.  The agreement is that, in exchange for housing, the Office of Residential Life expects those living in the community house to host events for the community.  Often, the houses have a specific theme.  The house I live in is Nerd House in Yarnall, and we are a group of 13 students dedicated to various fandoms, science, technology, literature, movies (some of us would say “films”), and board games of all stripes.  We do not use the term “nerd” in a disparaging way.  Instead, we use it as a term for motivated students with particular interests that make us interesting members of a sub-community that reaches out to the larger community.  We are all about inclusion.

When my housemates and I were freshmen, we began as several different groups of friends who all had similar interests.  Like nodes on a graph, we gradually became connected.  I was connected to many of my current housemates through my freshman hall and classes such as psychology, Spanish, computer science, and my writing seminar.  Sometimes, friends can come from unexpected places, and what can at first seem like minor events (e.g., sitting next to my current housemates in computer science and my writing seminar and thinking something along the lines of, “These guys seem nice.”) may be far more important upon further reflection.    Several of my friends started thinking about living together, and we decided that a community house would provide us with the space we needed and also be a way for us to reach out into the community.  After all, we are extremely social nerds.  (I prefer “nerdlings.”)  Once we had filled out our application near the end of freshman year and established our mission statement, we had an engaging interview with the Residential Life Committee.  When we had approval, we began to plan for sophomore year and compile an email list that we now use to communicate with numerous students who are interested in our events.  Upon our return to Haverford as sophomores, we were indeed prepared for an exciting year!

This year, we have hosted a variety of events on weekends, allowing students to have fun and “nerdy” evenings.  Some of our events have included an Open House board game night, several movie nights including an anime film night, Film Noir night complete with a jazz sextet, a Victorian Era murder mystery party, a video game tournament, and a Halloween party and costume ball.  Strategy board game night was our latest event.  Anyone on campus is invited to these events; we truly reach out to the community.  One of our crowning achievements was Humans vs. Zombies, a campus-wide game of tag wherein zombies had to infect humans to convert them, and humans had to resist the horde.  Nerd House advertised extensively and signed people up in the Dining Center; it was a phenomenal game with amazing participation.  Students have been responding with great enthusiasm to Nerd House; we have had impressive turnouts for our events, and I personally receive many compliments about those events and the general spirit of our house.  Community housing at Haverford is an excellent embodiment of the agency students have.  If there is not a club or group that suits your interests, you can create one.

Perhaps the most wonderful event that happens at Nerd House is when I walk in late at night to find my friends working in the kitchen.  We talk about our days, muse about our classes, and laugh about what is on the Internet.  I have a marvelous group of friends here whom I have gotten to know even better this year, and I treasure all of the success that we have been having in the community through Nerd House.  Be sure to check out previous and future blog posts.  HAVER great day!