The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Cribs these days: Braving the Cougar Den

It is a struggle to make it to the top of the “Cougar Pack”—it takes hard work and dedication. However, after a long week of “couging out,” it is all worth it for the honor of being awarded the Big Cat Cup. A glorious sip from this margarita glass is one of pride and distinction—it not only embodies the ideals of a cougar, but also the bond between 6 senior girls braving the challenge of off-campus living.

Brooke Yoder, Hannah Campos, Olivia Wilks, Kate Duran, Molly Wingfield and Becca Carter, all '12, are the residents of the Cougar Den, located at 1205 Broad Street. Photograph by Kathlyn Cabrera.

The Cougar Den, located at 1205 Broad St, houses Hannah Campos, Becca Carter, Kate Duran, Olivia Wilks, Molly Wingfield and Brooke Yoder, all ’12. While the house’s name may have many different connotations, its actual origin is simple.

“I like younger men,” Yoder explained with a laugh.

While the girls will certainly be making many new memories in the house this year, the Den already has an immense history behind it, as it is one of the oldest houses in Grinnell. The thought of the upkeep of an older home may seem daunting, but the girls have embraced the challenge.

“Part of the floor in that room is slanted. … It is not an optical illusion,” Wilks said. “We try to hide it with the table.”

Other nuisances include a drooping ceiling and several run-ins with bats. The housemates take these problems in stride and always stay true to their roots.

“Cougars don’t eat bats,” Yoder explained.

No matter the house’s visual downsides, the girls truly enjoy living at the Den. Despite some residents having moved in mere weeks ago, they have already established several traditions such as Sunday Wine Night and the awarding of the Big Cat Cup. Clearly, lasting memories are on their way.

“Eric Ragan [‘12] came over one time with six freshmen and modeled them for us,” Wilks said. “He was like, ‘Take your pick, cougars!’”

While the residents of the Cougar Den were good friends before this year, living together has transformed them into a “happy family.” According to her housemates, Campos has taken on the role of Den Mother or the Dish Woman.

“That might be true,” Campos laughed.

Beyond coming together as housemates, the residents of Cougar Den have come to love their home. The family room, which can serve as both a public venue and a quiet studying place, seems to be the most popular in the house.

There have already been various parties and get-togethers hosted in the bustling Cougar Den, certainly making it an off-campus place-to-be. One of the frequent visitors, or more appropriately, an honorary house member is Jerry Brown ‘14, Yoder’s boyfriend. When asked whether the girls intended to become “cougars” from the onset of the year, Wilks explained the origin of the Den.

“We’ve made it a joke. A really serious joke. A joke that we act on,” she said.

The six girls have embraced this long-standing joke, and have used it to not only create a common bond of friendship, but to truly exemplify their mission to make the most of their senior year. So when you see the Cougar pack approaching you, do not be intimidated by their confidence, ease of approach, or senior status—just remember: “cougars don’t eat bats.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Erin RoundsOct 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Great practice, but you cannot yet fathom a true Cougar Den. Definitely better than accepting that by junior and senior year you already know all the guys too well. Hints: There is no such thing as “too well” and Target has full length wall mirrors for $5.99 each, so Mal-wart probably does, too (the mirrors are not about how you look before you go to class)..
    Erin Rounds, ’89