Entering my third spring term, I thought I pretty much knew what to expect. Sunshine, pretending not to have any schoolwork, and outdoor adventures awaited me, and I couldn’t wait for the term to begin. Among the things I looked forward to was finalizing my housing plans for next year. I had plans to apply to CANOE house. Many of my good friends had lived in CANOE for the last few years and it was a place that I always felt comfortable and welcome in.
The email informing me that CANOE house would not exist next year was a huge shock. Could they even do that? Wasn’t CANOE as much a part of the campus landscape as the Chapel (well, maybe Nourse…)? How could the school try to take away one of the interest houses that had always seemed so…friendly, so emblematic of Carleton and home of the only couch-boat on campus? For a school that prides itself on its quirkiness, it seems hypocritical to take away the house that hosts an annual long underwear party!
As the facts began to unfold, the story only became more interesting. I can’t prove this, but it seems like CANOE lost their house because they became complacent, and saw as a right what ResLife saw as a privilege- the ability to have their house renewed and be given a space in which pretty much anything goes. At this point, it doesn’t look like CANOE house will exist next year, at least not in the form that it currently does. There has been plenty written about the loss to our community this change represents yet I think the CANOE community deserves recognition for how it responded to this change; for mobilizing, and getting the word out on what they feel is important. At last count their petition to show student interest to ResLife was over 700 signatures, and apparently parents have been emailing up a storm on their student’s behalf. If nothing else, we’ve all been reminded of the importance of demonstrating your beliefs, and showing others what is important to you.
I’m trying to learn the same lesson as the residents of CANOE house, and not take anything for granted. I may be a junior, and I may have played this game before, but I find myself looking at this term (and hopefully all future terms) in a new light. It is spring term, but anything can happen, and maybe it’s best to shed all prior expectations.
-- Submitted by Casey Silver ‘13