The former pink and blue house at 906 Main Street has been renewed, repainted and renamed the Social Change House. Within a two-minute walk from Clark’s campus, this joint project between Graduate Student Housing and the International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE) Department represents an unprecedented living opportunity for incoming agents of social change.
Their goal: to establish a “living and learning” community where graduate students from all four IDCE Programs are coming together to engage the academic and local community to discuss substantive conversations about how to enact social change here and now.
The House is home to fourteen residents, a co-ed mix of domestic and international students who make up a slice of the Clark community pie. Will Thoman is a GISDE student from the West Coast who enjoys the “older East Coast woodwork” around the mantelpiece in his room and throughout the rest of the house.
Across the spacious hallway lined with wooden fixtures and white walls is the room of Sarah Bertrand, a first-year IDSC student. Her room, like every bedroom, is furnished with a desk, a chair and a bed, leaving plenty of space to live and work in. Sarah even stores her bike there and the room still appears wide open.
Every bedroom has at least one large window. Communal kitchens and bathrooms are shared by residents on each of the three floors. With three staircases and carpeted floors throughout the house, the triple-decker was also outfitted with energy-saving and sustainable upgrades to meet Sustainable Clark initiatives including:
- LED lighting in updated fixtures
- New Energy Star appliances
- R-38 blown-in insulation throughout the attic
- New windows in the basement
- Added heating zones for more effective and efficient heating
- New baseboard heating units
- Low water use toilets with smaller tanks
Along with full wireless access, a front porch and the back deck, the new residents of the Social Change House fully appreciate the benefits of living and working together. “It’s close to campus so we’re always here or in the library,” says Susan Nelson and Nina Ainembabazi, both IDSC students and new best friends. “We’re able to learn about the other programs and it’s great to network and to live and work with like-minded people.”
The Social Change House is also becoming a hub for discussion and sharing between the advocates for change. Coming Tuesday, October 14th, a talk hosted by Difficult Dialogues, “Don’t Bite Your Tongue.” The topic to be discussed: diversity and inclusion.
– by Thomas Mengebier