Sawubona House accepts first residents


Sofiia Zaruchenko

Sawubona House, located at 1318 East St., will house 5 students in single rooms.

Ashley Baek, Staff Writer

Grinnell College has created a new project house for Black and Pan-African diasporic students called Sawubona House. Sawubona House was created by Residence Life while coordinating with the Conney M. Kimbo Black Cultural Center (BCC).

According to an email sent to the S&B from Jazzmine Brooks, director of intercultural affairs and Black student specialist, and Vrinda Varia, assistant chief diversity officer for intercultural student life, BCC’s mission is to “promote exploring Black identity development and unify students … by centering Black voices and experiences … while building a sense of belonging and tradition within the African diasporic community at Grinnell College.”

The BCC and Sawubona House will have programming and initiatives together to support and engage with the Black/Pan-African diasporic student community on campus.

“Sawubona is a Zulu greeting meaning, ‘I see you,’ recognizing each person’s presence, worth and dignity,” wrote Brooks and Varia.

Brooks and Varia stated that by naming the house this, the Sawubona House fosters connections amongst students and places an emphasis on Black and Pan-African identities.

“The initiatives of the Sawubona House are growing in parallel with the College’s residential curriculum,” Brooks and Varia wrote. “The residential experience offers personal identity exploration interests of residents in the house with residential community building. Sawubona House offers a space to explore self, community and culture.”

According to Dennis Perkins, assistant dean of residence life and student conduct, there have been three students living in Sawubona House since August. The house has room for five students in total.

“Sawubona is considered one of our six project houses,” Perkins said. “This means a space organized around a common theme in which everyone who lives there supports and is willing to live by that theme, rules, regulations and policies.”

The Sawubona House finished applications for the upcoming academic year in January, and new residents will be notified of their acceptance this month.