If you’re looking for a lively intellectual discussion with your dinner on a Tuesday evening, stop by the Reeder Fellowship House. The topic of conversation could be anything from climate change to genetically modified foods to the pros and cons of childhood vaccinations.
The weekly dinner discussions are hosted by the Reeder Street Fellows, a group of Lafayette students representing many majors, races, and countries who share the house at 225 Reeder Street. This student-run organization and living group exists to promote social, personal, and intellectual growth. The common denominator of the students is curiosity, which brings them together as a community despite their varied backgrounds and interests.
“The fellowship exists to provide a living environment free from the hubbub of the main campus where the residents can actively pursue an intellectually motivated yet vibrant lifestyle,” says the group’s president, Ahsan Nawroj ’12 (Dhaka, Bangladesh), an electrical and computer engineering major.
The Reeder Street Fellows also organize college-funded trips to interesting places, such as the West Wing of the White House, the Body Worlds exhibit, a Hare Krishna temple, a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, and a Broadway play. They have gone hiking in the Delaware Water Gap, cycling on an old rail trail, and rock-wall climbing. This spring, they are planning on a camping weekend if the weather cooperates.
“We’ve managed a nice combination of outdoor activity with more ‘high culture’ events, which helps demonstrate the fairly wide range of interests that Reeder as a community has,” says Peter Moody ’11 (Madison, N.J.), a history major.
Apart from the weekly dinner discussions and trips, Reeder’s residents often spend time together as a group, grilling in the back yard or sharing a meal together.
“The idea is to unite the house often enough for interesting and intellectual discussions to happen,” Nawroj says.
Members are drawn to the quiet and homey off-campus location, as well as the group’s camaraderie.
“I love the rich community feeling that living in a house setting facilitates. Some of my best conversations in college have occurred in the house,” says Nan Li ’12 (Shanghai, China), a double major in economics and international affairs. “My favorite Reeder moments are reading a book on the porch on a sunny afternoon, homemade barbeque accompanied by a Spanish guitar duo, and entertaining a Sunday breakfast party with coffee and crepes.”
Moody describes the house as having a “laid-back intellectualism.”
“Everyone in the house has their own interests and focus, but there’s easy communication about these interests among residents. That’s not to say there’s no disagreement or debate. Our weekly discussions can get pretty heated at times, but it doesn’t seem to spoil the intellectual respect that house members develop for each other,” he says.