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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Cribz: The Swamp of 1015 High Street

“Swampcore” 1015 High Street. Photo by Alex Fontana.

If you’re headed to 1015 High Street to visit Aidan Coalson, McKenna Doherty, Marianna Cota, Mary Binzley, Lacey Blauser and/or Justina Lee, all `22, the first thing you’ll notice is the log outside their house with “The Swamp” painted in bright green letters.

Then, you’ll catch sight of Kermit the Frog — with human feet! — sitting on their couch. When you get past the living room, there’s a pirate flag adorning the dining room wall, with a skull and bones and reading reads “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves.” And if you stay long enough, Doherty will introduce you to their life-size cutout of Mr. Bean.

The housemates have curated their house a self-dubbed aesthetic “swampcore,” derived from the movie franchise Shrek. The group of six never anticipated the house becoming “The Swamp,” but now actively make sure every piece of decor fits their kooky theme and are immensely proud of it.

The residents of 1015 High Street met their first year on campus. Doherty and Binzley were roommates and became friends with Blauser, who lived above them. Lee, Cota and Coalson also lived closed to one another. And finally, to complete the group, Cota and Blauser met through a common club, and the two friend groups merged.

At the end of their second year, the friend group signed a lease to secure a spot in the competitive Grinnell house rental market. 1015 was one of a few options that can house six people in six bedrooms, where each person has their own space. As an additional perk, the house is only a block off campus.

Binzley, Coalson, Doherty and Cota arrived first at the house and in their first two weeks, they knew they wanted the house to be called “The Swamp.” Then they named their WiFi “The Swamp.” And then they went out and found the nearest log, which happened to be 90 minutes away at a state park. The décor continued to match the theme, and the house is decidedly swamp-like.

When the Swamp’s residents are not studying, working or hosting impromptu dance parties, the six have countless group activities they partake in. The highlights speak for themselves:

“I have let everyone get addicted to Love Island … And besides that, most of the time I just sit here, admiring our furniture from Dr. Kesho Scott,” said Lee. “She gave us all this furniture for free, essentially.”

“We make a lot of taquitos, [and] fried pickles,” said Blauser. “We go to pub quiz on campus. We also go to the brewery in town, [who] have trivia on Wednesday nights.”

“We also do jam sessions, yeah,” said Doherty. “We each play instruments and sing along to songs while they’re playing so we have a xylophone, a saxophone, a cello, a ukulele, and it all works.”

Blauser describes the group’s favorite activity to the giggles of everyone in the room, after debating if she should reveal their amazing Grinnell find.

“Walmart tanks. We go to Walmart and buy tank tops,” said Blauser. “If you’ve never bought Walmart tank tops, they have the best high quality tank tops in every color, and they’re $2.90. We all have at least like 10 Walmart tank tops.”

In addition, on July 24, they hosted a green swamp-themed party, inspired by Shrek.

“We did play many songs from the ‘Shrek 2’ soundtrack,” said Binzley. “We didn’t have jungle juice, we served swamp swill.”

“It’s easier for people to follow a theme if it’s more general, but in our hearts, it was a Shrek party,” said Blauser.

The only issue — for Blauser at least — is the train. Blauser’s bedroom is on the west end of the house, closest to the train tracks.

“It’s in our backyard … I hear it quite frequently. It’s a very fun experience, waking up to the train coming around,” she notes sarcastically as everyone laughs.

But even for Blauser, who had yet to move in when the idea of “The Swamp” was coming to fruition, the house is exactly what she hoped for.

“The idea was born, and I didn’t realize how perfect it would be until we got here, and it just feels right,” Blauser said.

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