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June 14, 2012

Reeder House Brings Together Diverse Students and Ideas

This year’s Reeder Fellows are Luna Yuan ’12 (seated, l-r) and Rachel Gordon ’14. Standing are Alexander Pong ’12 (l-r), Elliott Mitchell-Colgan ’12, Nan Li ’12, Michael Pinkard ’14, Austin Weidner ’12, and Ahsan Nawroj ’12.

This year’s Reeder Fellows are Luna Yuan ’12 (seated, l-r) and Rachel Gordon ’14. Standing are Alexander Pong ’12 (l-r), Elliott Mitchell-Colgan ’12, Nan Li ’12, Michael Pinkard ’14, Austin Weidner ’12, and Ahsan Nawroj ’12.

There’s a place where dinnertime is regularly accompanied by spirited conversations about topics like extraterrestrials, sustainability, the Meyers-Briggs personality test, and Occupy Wall Street.  At the weekly dinner discussions of the Reeder Street Fellows, you never know where the intellectual curiosity of the “Reederites” will lead.

The Reeder Street Fellows are a group of Lafayette students representing many majors, races, and countries who share the house at 225 Reeder Street.  (The Reederites themselves give the address as “2 blocks past WaWa.”)  The 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.

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“The Reeder Street Fellowship was started with the mission of bridging the gap between the dorms and the classroom,” says Austin Weidner ’12, former president of the group, who just graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering. Because the intellectual interests of the house are so wide-ranging, he says, their dinner discussions could be about “anything and everything.”

Michael Pinkard ’14 takes a break from studying to play piano.

Michael Pinkard ’14 takes a break from studying to play piano.

“Each discussion is led by one member of the house, and that person has complete autonomy as to what to discuss,” he says.  “The topics usually fall into three groups:  current events, a passion the leader wants to share, or Lafayette and higher education-related topics.”

This year’s topics have included nuclear energy, peer pressure, and college tuition prices, just to name a few.

The Reeder Street Fellows also organize College-funded trips to locations they want to explore.  This year, that meant trekking to New York City to see the Broadway play Memphis.  They also traveled to Kennett Square, Pa., to meander Longwood Gardens, a site known for its dazzling arrangements of plant life.

In addition to the weekly dinner discussions and trips, the Reederites can often be found cooking on the barbecue, watching movies (and perhaps discussing them afterwards), doing homework together, and journeying to campus to attend brown bag discussions.

“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, who graduated with an A.B. with majors 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.”

Rachel Gordon ’14 studies for finals.

Rachel Gordon ’14 studies for finals.

Alexander Pong ’12, who graduated with a B.S. in biology, describes the atmosphere of the house as “amazingly friendly and open-minded.”

“One of the great things about Reeder is the incredible diversity among its housemates,” he says.  “Every year, there is a surprisingly large percentage of the house that is international.  I believe this diversity really strengthens the house, especially the discussions, providing unique viewpoints.”

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