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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

A talk with Stephen Cropper, coordinator of Spanish House

Inhabitants of Spanish House go about their daily lives. Photos by Shabana Gupta.

Just across from Younker Hall on the corner of Park Street and 8th Avenue sits Spanish House. It’s a two story, brown shingled mid-century home with green and red accents, and for the 15 residents, it’s a temporary home.

Stephen Cropper ’21 is the house’s coordinator. As a third-year physics major, Spanish has served as an important outlet in his schedule. As he talked about the house’s dynamic, his roommates popped in and out of the main living room.

“There are a lot of people here,” said Cropper. “but because … of the small size, and the amount of people who do live in Spanish house, I think you get to know people a little better.”

According to Cropper, Spanish House is the smallest of all of the language houses, even though it has the most people. This has not proved to be a problem though, as Cropper said that all the house members are extremely respectful.

The one aspect that has created some problems though is the kitchen. “We have,” said Cropper, “a very intimate kitchen.” However, most of the residents have learned to meal prep, or make a week’s worth of meals on Sunday and box them up in the fridge. The one downside to meal-prepping, though, is that there isn’t always room in the house’s only fridge.

“It’s something that we have to keep on top of,” said Cropper.

Despite its size, the kitchen serves as an important social hub for Spanish House’s community, due to its proximity to the house’s back door.

“Typically, people use the back door more often because it’s facing campus,” said Cropper. “And I think there is somewhat of a tradition, if you could call it that, of interacting with people in the kitchen. I feel like it becomes a place where you can kind of talk to people about what they’re making, how their day is going, things like that. So, I think the kitchen can sometimes serve as kind of a … communal space.”

Spanish House also offers a monthly Hora Cultural, or Cultural Hour, where students and faculty are invited to participate in the chosen activity and share the prepared meal. The program is not limited to just people in the Spanish program–all Grinnellians can attend.

“We’ve had picnics outside,” said Cropper, “especially when the weather’s nice. We also have movies sometimes.”

For more information on Hora Cultural, or to get added to the Hora Cultural email list, contact Carol Ver Ploeg at

However, Grinnellians don’t need to get on an email list in order to be involved or invited to Spanish House. As Cropper stressed, it’s open to everyone.

“You know, there’s a lot of history in this house,” said Cropper. “You can tell them the floor right now is kind of bowed towards the center, because people like to come here and have a good time.


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