The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Can the substandard speak?

From left to right, Ian Gold, Pooj Padmaraj, Will Jackson, Robert Mulry (all ’13) and Moira Donovan ’14 let out their inner animals. Photo by Tela Ebersole.

By Yishi Liang,

On December 7, the S&B published an article on the potentially substandard living conditions of off-campus houses. The photo that accompanied this article was of the house on 1005 High Street, and the current residents of the house, Moira Donovan ’14, Ian Gold, ’13, Will Jackson ’13, Robert Mulry ’13 and Pooj Padmaraj ’13, would like to take this opportunity to defend the substandard building they consider their home.

The atmosphere of the house is built around the long-standing friendships between its members, which go back to their first year at Grinnell. Jackson and Padmaraj were roommates, and all the housemates, excluding Donovan, lived in Loose Hall. Despite being a later addition to the group, Donovan still plays a vital role in the house.

“I’m just like their live-in butler,” Donovan admitted. “They hired me after the first semester.”

However, not everyone agrees with her self-proclaimed job title.

“She does a really good job of making it as dirty as possible for us,” Mulry countered.

Their long friendships have led to the foundation of a close-knit community where lighthearted verbal abuses are all in good fun.

“People are surprised by how much we are constantly insulting each other,” Gold said.

The friends also have a gentler side, offering up their house as a home to several stray animals in town, including a mouse in the pantry and stray cats on the porch. Some might see this as part of the group’s unhygienic lifestyle, but every member has gotten more in touch with their animal side since living in the house.

“Every full moon, we transform,” Padmaraj revealed.

Jackson provided a translation.

“Basically, we all wear furry costumes when it’s a full moon,” he said.

This seemingly simple tradition has given all of members a new perspective on life.

“We fight against animal cruelty because we’ve experienced it firsthand,” Mulry proclaimed.

In addition to the five official members and their unconventional pets, the house is also home to honorary residents Veronica Varon ’10, Mulry’s “girlfriend,” and a severed, bearded mannequin head named Norman.

“Everything about the house can be seen through [Norman’s] eyes,” said Gold.

This notion of an unconventional view on the world is a defining characteristic of the house. This may be due to the vastly diverse interests of all its members, all of whom have different majors, ranging from Religious Studies to Biology. And it is clearly evident in the distinct artwork that hangs on the walls, such as the many representations of their spirit animals (the owl and cheetah) and the extensive library, which includes four copies of the Quran.

The addition of these personal touches has helped make the house anything but substandard. However, these invaluable items were in danger of being lost forever during The Great Flood.

“Ian Byrd [’16] left the water on in the upstairs bathroom and flooded the entire first floor,” Jackson said.

This incident is something that all off-campus residents put themselves in risk of when they open up their home to social soirees. But it still won’t stop the group from carrying on with their weekly tradition.

“Every Monday we hold #MNBG, which is Monday Night Beer Games,” Jackson shared.

But these games, which are also sponsored by Krispy Kreme Donuts, Buffalo Wild Wings and Jimmy John’s, are not to be taken lightly.

“We do pull-ups until we get blisters,” Gold said. The competition is likely no problem for Padramaj and Donovan, who are established triathletes, and Mulry, a biathlete.

Athletes, artists, friends, animal-lovers, and animals on occasion: the residents of 1005 embody all walks of life. Their house has been the opportunity for most of them to share their final semester at Grinnell with some of their oldest friends here. The lifestyle at 1005 High Street is far from substandard and instead, has set a new standard for off-campus living.

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