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The Scarlet & Black

Cribz: Fresh fruit and a chat with the inhabitants of GAME House

On the corner of East Street and 6th sits one of Grinnell College’s newest project houses. With a rainbow-colored chalkboard welcome sign on their front steps, the members of GAME House are as just friendly as their décor makes them appear to be. In the large, airy stucco home live Nicky Midlash and Andrew George, both class of ’21, and Daniel Snyder, Jason Li, Izan Ahmed, Kody Harrison, Maria Eure, Maddie McCabe, Kiran Loewenstein, Emma Schaefer, Olivia Krousie, and Helen St. John, all class of ’22.

“What we want people to know is that this house is not just about traditional games,” said Li. “When people think of games, they often think of board games or video games, but instead GAME House is a place where students can find sub-free entertainment and activities.”

The GAME in GAME House is actually an acronym, standing for Grinnell’s Alternative Methods of Entertainment. GAME House hopes to serve as a hub for students that choose to avoid substances, but still want to go out and have fun, because, as the residents of GAME House can attest to, the two are not mutually exclusive. Originally, GAME House started as a small group of students getting together on Saturday nights in Noyce.

“We kind of wanted something besides parties,” said Midlash, the house coordinator. “So, on the weekends, we just started going to Noyce. It started with a lot of movies, but then more people were like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool,’ So then they came, and we started playing other games.”

Although it originally started as a group of close-knit cross-country teammates, news about this student-led “Game Night” spread by word of mouth. As the event grew, Saturday-night activities became more and more elaborate, one of the highlights being a massive game of Sardines last spring in the HSSC.Andrew George ’21 recounts his victory, admitting that he owes it partially to the unfinished nature of the HSSC. “I found this section of a wall that wasn’t put up yet. So, I just walked up to the last frame and jumped in. I was in there forever,” said George.

Of all the activities, though, apart from the infamous game of Sardines, the housemates say that some of their favorites have been their art night.

Recently, GAME House threw a very successful “Watermelon Bash,” which involved an excessive amount of watermelons (the remnants of which they are keeping in the freezer as the official house mascot). As they described their living dynamic, Schaefer cut up some leftover watermelon for everyone to snack on. Despite the heat, the house members sat in a circle in their living room and talked excitedly about their “top secret” plans for future student events, their strategies for marketing GAME House to Grinnell Students, and a possible partnership with substance-free events organization Weekend.

“I think at the foundation of this project is the fact that some people just want to have fun in an environment free of alcohol and other substances,” said Schaefer. “We’re definitely not trying to replace events that include substance – our motive isn’t spiteful at all. We all just have a shared interest and now we’re living in a project house so we can share it with the greater Grinnell College community.”

Members of GAME House (short for Grinnell’s Alternative Methods of Entertainment) hold substance-free events for students who prefer to keep substances out of their weekends. From left to right, going up from bottom of photo: q, Kody Harrison, Jason Li, Daniel Snyder, Helen St. John, Maria Eure, Maddie McCabe, Emma Schaefer, Lily Keane. Photo by Isabelle Torrence.
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