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Party perks and perils: damage creates hosting burdens

Despite+commitments+to+the+Grinnell+party+scene%2C+party+houses+like+1026+High+Street+face+increasing+hesitation+to+host+amidst+damage.
Marc Duebener
Despite commitments to the Grinnell party scene, party houses like 1026 High Street face increasing hesitation to host amidst damage.
A video from Oct. 8, 2022 shows the ground floor of 1026 High St. bulging as a party goes on. Andrew Haggerty `25, resident of the house, said he later paid to fix and reinforce the floor with metal beams.

By night, the siren song of off-campus houses hosting all-campus parties blares from High Street. Dozens of students answer the call, packing themselves into living rooms turned dance floors, only to stumble and laugh their way home later. 

But by day, residents of the party houses deal with the destructive aftermath — coated, sticky floors clinging to their shoes, stolen possessions and even a straggler or two who may decide to crash on the couch for the night. In years past, upperclassmen recall a campus culture where parties were never in short supply. But now, frequent party hosts cite hundreds of dollars in damage and recurring disrespect from partygoers as reasons for hosting less often.  

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” Oliver Palmer `24, who lives at 1026 High St., a house that often hosts parties, said. “But it also comes with the territory. To me, if we have this space, and we’re willing to do it [host], then why not provide this?”

Palmer said that there have been especially fewer on-campus events for students to go to this last semester, like Gardners or Harrises. 

“There’s just not much to do in this town. Hosting parties is a fun way to see a bunch of people outside of an academic setting,” he added.

“Honestly, I’m not a party person,” Rishabraj Verma `24, resident of another long-time party house 1008 High St., said. “I started living with my friends, and my friends are all party people.” 

Verma said if his housemates didn’t want to host parties so often, he’d “probably sit here [in his bedroom] and play FIFA.” But Verma is responsible for being “on aux,” or choosing the music for the party. 

“For me, it’s a hard time picking what songs to play,” he said. “I have no fucking idea, because I play Taylor Swift and people lose their minds, and I’m like, ‘This is the worst song I’ve ever heard in my life.’ But I’m there singing along pretending I’m having fun in my head.”

“I also noticed one thing — that the more fun the hosts have, the more fun everyone else has,” Verma added.

Verma said he and his housemates often make an effort for everyone to feel comfortable at the parties they host, whether that means passing beers around or being the first ones to do “stupid shit.” 

But during the first weekend of March, 1008 High St. was one of two houses hosting a party colloquially called “100 Days,” which celebrates seniors being roughly 100 days away from their graduation. The event is exclusively meant for fourth years, and Verma, the only fourth year in his house, said he sent his housemates off to host the party at 1008 alone — even though he had just gotten his appendix surgically removed that morning.

“I saw two people vomit on my floor,” Verma said of the night 100 Days was hosted. “They didn’t even come to clean the next day. One of them was so drunk … I went to his house to drop him.”

“That’s a very constant thing,” Verma added while eating chocolate pudding, which he said is easy to digest after his appendix was removed.  

He also said the house has had belongings stolen, like a banner that said “Student Athletes” — an inside joke because several of the residents of 1008 like to play beer die, a drinking game. Verma also said they had a table the house used to play die on stolen last year. 

During a party at 1008 last semester, Verma was told that the microwave in his kitchen had been turned on with beer cans shoved inside of it. Although Verma said he did see a bright flash in the microwave, it was able to be unplugged before any further damage could happen. A corroded, black stain in the bottom right corner of the microwave is the only remnant of the event.

Residents of 1010 High St. narrowly avoided a microwave explosion after party guests loaded it with beer cans. (Marc Duebener)

All the residents of 1008 this year are Indian. Verma said he thinks there is a “racist element” to some of the incidents the house has suffered this past year. 

“As international students, you think you can get away with it,” Verma said. “You would never do it at baseball house.” 1015 High St. also often hosts parties and has been called “baseball house” since several players from the baseball team live there. 

Several residents of off-campus houses attributed some of these incidents — like stealing or destruction of their property — to the reason fewer houses throw all-campus parties this academic year. 

Palmer along with his housemate Andrew Haggerty `25 said they refurnished their living room area again after they heard about the microwave incident at 1008, “because we’re not going to host for awhile.” It wasn’t until this semester that they began hosting again. 

“For us, it definitely makes it less fun to be like, ‘Oh, let’s host,’” Palmer said of incidents like the one at 1008. “If everyone comes out and has a good time and respects the house, it’s easy.”

“It’s usually just a few people” that “sour” the party, he said, but “it only takes one bad interaction to be like, ‘Why are we doing this?’”

In October of 2022, the floor of 1026 High St. broke after an all-campus party. Haggerty said it took over $1,000 to fix the floor. Although he and the rest of his housemates living at 1026 that year did receive around $400 in payment through Venmo after crowdfunding, Haggerty said he still had to pay around $600 out of pocket for the fix. Now the floor is reinforced with metal support beams.

Last year, the aftermath of a party left the floor of 1026 High St.’s living room partially collapsed; the housemates repaired it by having metal beams installed in the basement.
(Marc Duebener)

Haggerty and Palmer also said the payments received through Venmo to fix the floor were not the norm. For regular all-campus parties, they said zero people usually send a Venmo payment. 

Maddy McKeag `24, who lives at 1010 High St., said she and her housemates have mainly turned to making people pay at the door before entering their party after their “house got destroyed” during 10/10, an all-day moving party starting at 10 a.m. and lasting until Midnight. McKeag added a first-year had even passed out and urinated on their couch before the house was even meant to host. One of the cushions of their gray couch is now a slightly smaller white one. 

“If people Venmoed more and respected our spaces more, I definitely think we’d be more open to hosting,” McKeag said. 

“We want to contribute to a positive campus culture,” she added. “And that’s why it really sucks when we open up our house, we give them alcohol, we don’t ask for a whole lot in return and we still get disrespected.”

Despite the property damage and frustration over disrespect to their houses, residents of 1008, 1010 and 1026 all said they still enjoy the positive interactions that come out of hosting. 

Verma said after his house hosts, he remembers people coming up to him and thanking him for hosting and telling him they had fun.

“The reason we keep hosting is because those experiences are more important than the two or three people puking,” Verma said. “I still think the 90 people having good experiences matter more.”

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About the Contributors
Taylor Nunley, Community Editor
Taylor is a second-year Classics and English double major from Huntington, West Virginia. Her life-long goal is to ride as many forms of transportation as possible.
Marc Duebener, Staff Photographer
Marc Duebener is a first-year chemistry and economics major with a concentration in science, medicine and society. He says he is from Chicago, Illinois but really lives in the suburbs. On campus you can find Marc shooting sporting events and documentaries, studying in Noyce, or hitting the gym.
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