Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Chelsey Shannon, Opinions Editor
Somehow, we’re fast-approaching the midway point of spring quarter—sophomores who have spent the past two and a half quarters in Living Learning Houses are beginning to think about all the cleaning and packing that has to be done within the coming few weeks. Some students (myself included) are beginning to reflect on what it has been like to live with seven other people this past year—what has worked, what hasn’t, what’s been rewarding, and what’s been difficult. No doubt the LLHU program is a great one, and I personally am deeply grateful for the experience. At the same time, I doubt anyone who has lived in a house would say that everything has been sunshine and roses.
WiPhi House resident Emily Witte pointed out that she’s beginning to feel like eight people per house is a little too much. “These houses are a little on the small side. I think it would work better if there were six people per house, maybe seven in the bigger ones.” This is very true, especially true in the WiPhi House, which boasts one refrigerator and 1.25 bathrooms for the eight residents. Don’t get me wrong—conditions could be a whole lot worse, but day-to-day living might be a little easier for future residents of small LLHUs if the houses host 6-7 students instead of 8.
Other LLHU residents criticized the money-pooling system for house events. “We put in $100 extra each quarter, but we don’t have access to that. It all goes into a pool,” said sophomore Alex Subbaraman. “If we can’t have access to that money, have us put $50 in a quarter and let us have access to that.” Women’s Advocacy House resident Sara Adelman agreed: “Basically I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth.” Both Adelman and Subbaraman also mentioned that although they feel each individual LLHU is a self-contained community, they don’t feel a sense of greater community among the different LLHUs. “I think they pull everyone’s money because all the houses are viewed as a community. But I don’t feel like Living Learning Houses are a community as a whole,” remarked Subbaraman.
Nothing is perfect, and the LLHU is great on the whole. But it does seem beneficial to reflect on the past year of living in the houses as first-years apply for their turns in the 2012-13 school year.