A Year in Social Events (By Jess Allen)
As is the case for most programmes, the year started with Orientation, which for us meant two days packed full of training sessions, bonding activities, and the all-important first House Meeting. House Members seemed to really enjoy the team games featuring sweets, straws, and props from all over the house, which set a precedent for the social events of the year that followed.
One of the benefits of being a self-governing House is that we are able to shape our programme, therefore events tend to correspond to House Members’ interests, tastes, and talents. This year saw events which took place in the House itself and within the city of Ann Arbor and beyond. Some activities were active whilst others were incredibly relaxing. Some were focused on learning something new whereas others were incepted with celebrations in mind.
A highlight of the Fall semester for a group of House Members was the trip to Cedar Point in October: two volunteers generously drove a rented minibus all the way to Sandusky and back, giving House Members the chance to sample an array of white-knuckle rides as the sun set. We also had the opportunity to take a trip to Dearborn to visit the Arab American Museum which was followed by a sumptuous lunch and then dessert and Yemeni tea and coffee in a local café. Closer to home, we visited a cider mill in Jackson just before fall became winter and were honoured to be invited to watch the production put on by one of our Fall faculty fellows, Irina, in the Residential College. The Faculty Fellows certainly brought a lot of life to the House that semester, with Kelli organising impromptu wine and cheese nights and finishing her two and a half year tenure with a glamorous leaving party.
The Winter semester is traditionally busier for House Members, for we read applications for the Telluride Association’s summer programmes as well as conducting our second preferment cycle of the year and continuing with all of our other responsibilities. Consequently, we partook in several relaxing activities over the course of the semester: ice skating, bowling, laser tag, a cinema trip, and watching a reimagining of Antigone. At the end of Spring Break, some of us spent the evening relaxing at Oasis Hot Tub Gardens, sipping peculiarly coloured and flavoured lemonades in the darkness amongst the illuminated bubbles. We also had the chance to see several house members showing off their talents in shows around Ann Arbor.
Of course, having 25 House Members means that there is always something to celebrate. We attended the defenses of two graduating House members and were there to see them complete the final stage of their PhD. Every month, we ate cake and sang to celebrate birthdays after Pub Speaks and housemmebers who had exceeded expectations with regards to attendance at House events were treated to dinner out at the end of each semester.
And not everything was meticulously planned in advance and budgeted for in House Meetings! Equally as valuable and fun were evenings spent making decorations for our bedroom doors, carving pumpkins, and holding impromptu film nights. We screened sports games, independent films, Game of Thrones, and even had an evening dedicated to watching funny YouTube clips. Sometimes life in the House was very busy and a little stressful, but the social events certainly provided a counterpoint to this and helped us to bond as a community.
This year they included but certainly were not limited to presentations of a House member’s artwork and a children’s book written and published by a House member, a discussion of medical ethics and scenarios, and lectures on African American hair, the US immigration system, Brexit, bowling, and much more. House members often lingered in public spaces after pubspeaks to continue the discussion and many a meal time conversation circled back to topics raised in pubspeaks earlier in the year.
Hear FROm OUtgoing House Members
Dr. Aixa Marchand
Living in the Michigan Branch Telluride House has been a wonderful and rare experience. I have felt honored to live and learn among other students and faculty who are so intelligent, passionate about what they do, and who are open and ready to share their opinions and experiences. Not only have I learned so much from others who I have lived with, but I have learned so much about myself at the same time. It has been great to learn informally from other housemembers at the dinner table, and formally through their Pubspeaks. I enjoyed the game nights, Zumba sessions, and outings that we had as a house. I have made some very special memories in this house. Living in Telluride is a microcosm of the real world and I am so excited to apply what I’ve learned in the future and to keep in touch with the amazing people I’ve met these past two years.
Dr. Robert Walker
I lived at MBTA for four academic years, and I am definitely a different person for the better ultimately. The house throws a lot of adverse challenges at you. I learned that there can be optimal ways to approach each and every strategy, and sometimes it takes several years in the house to discern what those approaches will be. This can go from exercising self-governance, to self-advocacy and self-care and showing empathy for the plights and trials of other house members as best discerned by checking in with them often. At the same time, both the failures and successes in addressing all of those challenges can be quite transformative, given time and space away from the house to process. Ultimately, I am glad that I stayed at MBTA -- I've grown up a lot in this house, as I transition to the next phase of my life.