The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

The Nip slips on Broad

Cribz - Joanna Silverman
Hannah Fiske, Nicole Robertson, Olivia Finster, Stephanie Porter, Kai Mayer, and Eleni Irrera (all ’14) show off their superior fashion sense.
Photo by Joanna Silverman


Gordon Ramsay once commented, gesticulating fiercely: “Kitchens are hard environments and they form incredibly strong characters.”
It is apparent that the members of 1126 Broad Street are embodiments of that quote. Olivia Finster, Hannah Fiske, Eleni Irrera, Kai Mayer, Stephanie Porter and Nicole Robertson (all ’14) have a rich history of friendship. The group goes by “Georgia O’Queef’s Nip,” or “The Nip” for short, a reference to both the famous American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and a testament to the steeple adorning the house.
“We knew we lived well together,” Fiske said.
All of the housemates are acquainted with living off-campus. Finster, Fiske, Irrera, Mayer and Robertson all lived together in Food House last year, while Porter lived in the adjacent Eco House.
“We have had good practice figuring it all out, and [living together] has been great,” Robertson said warmly.
Last semester, while Porter studied abroad in Russia, Robertson in Egypt, and Finster and Fiske in Denmark, Irrera and Mayer secured the house for their senior year.  Though the group no longer lives in a themed house, they still avidly pursue their shared affection for the culinary arts.
“Eleni is an amazing cook and baker,” Fiske said.
Monday nights, the group of vegetarians come together over a home cooked meal for each other’s company and to share a “rose and thorn” from the week. This particular Monday featured a golden brown corn bread appetizer and a fresh quinoa and caper salad with chopped tomato, onion and zucchini.
While the group only has one communal meal per week, they each enjoy cooking and sharing their own small meals. Robertson is fond of making up a Middle Eastern bean hummus, Mayer of creating vegetarian chili from scratch and Irrera of whipping up a frozen banana smoothie purée. The group also hosts a Vegan Coop dinner on Thursday nights and occasionally potlucks with various houses around Grinnell.
The group enjoys the peace of having their own space away from the social angst of living on campus.
“We now know what we want from our Grinnell experience and it’s not defined by any social expectations, by what you should be doing on a Friday or Saturday night,” Robertson said. “Sometimes it’s nice to just stay in and read or chat with a friend.”
However, as any Grinnell student, the residents of the Nip do enjoy the occasional dance party.
“Our house is prone to interpretive dance,” Irrera joked. “If you were to hop in at any given time, we are  more likely to be dancing in an interpretive fashion.”
Whether it is reading, chatting, game night or dance parties, the group does enjoy socializing in the large and spacious house.
“You feel much more isolated doing that in the dorms than in a house with your friends,” Finster said.
The house dates back to the 1880s and is a survivor of the 1882 cyclone that destroyed much of the Grinnell campus and town. Some of the original architecture is still featured in the home, although the new residents have made their own additions, as well.
“Hannah took the time to make this house into a home,” Robertson said.
No room in the home is without decoration. Fiske’s artwork and tapestries adorn the walls and windows of every room. The house has a tradition of passing down items from year to year. This year the group not only inherited furniture and a brand new refrigerator but a ‘Pin the Cock to the Jock’ poster, cardboard phalluses and enough empty liquor bottles to put a University of Iowa fraternity to shame. The list of priceless inheritances is almost endless. From a talking Jesus Christ action figure to a Moaning Myrtle poster, the house is as colorful in character as the six personalities that inhabit it.
The members would also like to give a gracious shout-out to Paul R. Sutton ’80 for the knife sharpener he graciously gifted them the previous year.

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