Residence Life  


AQ Community House Extends Hand to Commuter Students and Eastown Community

By: Jacqui DeFouw ‘11

Introduced for the 2010-2011 academic year, Aquinas College has a brand new housing option for students after their freshmen year.
AQ Community House
It’s called the Community House; an off campus housing option without the lost security of Aquinas’ backing. “The community house is an opportunity for students to get the off campus experience while still maintaining that close relationship with the College,” said Community House member Brittany Reed ‘11. Matt Gardner ’12 is another house member. He added that “This project brings together a group of students who want to assist in building a better community.”
2010-2011 Community House Residents  The community in question is Eastown. It is an area just south of campus in which many students live, work, and play. “The Community House seeks to help strengthen this already established relationship between Aquinas and Eastown,” Gardner said. Ashley Richards ’11, another house member, added, “we also work with the ECA [Eastown Community Association] to foster a communal relationship between AQ and one of the areas that commuter students live in.”
Students living in the house do community service projects within the community and also serve as a place other commuter students can come in order to find opportunities to get involved in their neighborhoods or to just find help with issues that arise from living off campus like landlord or roommate problems. “My goal for the community house,” said Reed, “is not only to be a resource for the ECA and the Eastown community, but I want to be a resource for the students. I like the idea that commuters and even on campus students can come to us to get involved.”
 The Community House counts as one credit under the Community Leadership major or as an elective. “It’s just one credit for fifty hours of service that we log and reflect on,” said Richards, adding, “we can do a lot of different stuff. It’s volunteer oriented.”

 The fact that the house is in its first year has made the experience interesting for the students living there this year. “Being the first year we have a chance to decide how we want to help out without feeling .
AQ Community House
restrictions based on precedence,” said Gardner. Reed added, “I think [the community is] reacting positively.” She also said, “We’ve tried to make our presence known to them and say ‘we’re here to help’ and extending them a hand.” Richards agreed with the sentiments of her housemates. “We’re finding out what works and what doesn’t as we go,” she said
Although all of the housemates said that there are challenges in this housing arrangement, they also agreed that the good outweighs the bad. “When you get any large amount of people living in one house it’s difficult to maintain functioning in the house,” said Reed, but she also added that having the different grade levels in the house “creates the opportunity for the different levels to learn from each other.” Richards agreed, “It’s kind of exciting being a part of a whole new environment.”
“The AQ community should know the Community House is here and ready to help. We have a lot of great things in store for the coming year,” said Gardner. Reed agreed and added, “The community house is another example that community for Aquinas extends beyond these trees - it’s bigger.”