Unless you become a part of it after freshman year, house team tends to fall into the background of everyday life. Upperclassmen might not think too much about everything that house team is involved in, especially when it comes to taking care of anyone living in the dorms for nine months out of every year.
It is a huge time commitment for those on House Team, however, whether the time is spent planning house events, such as study breaks, or even just getting freshmen to come to these events. Lindsay Lucido ’16 is the Junior Rep, which is an elected position, in Noyes. For her, the Noyes house team has been a learning experience and process as the team has come together and bonded.
“I think at the beginning we had some ups and downs,” she continued. “We weren’t really sure about how to plan events, or get freshmen to come to study breaks. But as the weeks have gone by, we have really learned to work together. I think we’re doing great!”
For the Student Fellows, however, being on house team is less about their fellow members and more about their freshmen. Chris Cerutti ’17 and Matt Kolbert ’17 are both Student Fellows in Lathrop. When Kolbert initially applied to be a student fellow, he wasn’t thinking beyond serving as a resource for freshmen. “It definitely wasn’t for house team, it was to be a student fellow. House team was like an afterthought.”
Cerutti added, “It’s cool that we get to be on house team, and that we get to organize events. But being a Student Fellow always comes first.” He continued, “It’s nice to be able to be a student fellow, but also to be part of the greater team as a whole.”
While Student Fellows are not in charge of planning events like “Freshmen Desserts,” they are intricately involved in the process. Cerutti said, “It’s really nice to also be able to have a say about the things that happen in our house. Because we’re the ones who are taking care of the freshmen, and the events that they’re hosting aren’t mainly for the freshmen, but a lot of them are more geared toward the freshmen.”
This year in Lathrop they’re bringing back the tradition that was overlooked last year. “We’re doing ‘Sophomore Desserts,’ which is like ‘Freshman Desserts,’” Kolbert said. “Apparently there were supposed to be Freshman Desserts for everyone.”
As the Lathrop and Jewett House Advisor, Kelly Grab serves as the liaison between the house team and the Office of Residential Life. She confirmed that the Student Fellows on house team aren’t the only resource for freshmen. “‘Freshman Desserts’ is an annual House Fellow program,” Grab wrote in an emailed statement. “The House Fellows are expected to invite each Student/TVE Fellow group for brunch, dessert, cook-out, etc. sometime during the first several weeks of the fall term.”
She added, “Many House Fellows host these events in their apartments. The Student/TVE Fellows are expected to bring all of their fellowees. Additionally, some House Fellows have invited the Student Advisor, House Advisor or one of the House Officers to each of these functions.”
The Student Fellows are mostly charged with the freshmen, while the rest of house team deals more with house events. Matt Kolbert ’17 is also a Lathrop Student Fellow. Kolbert feels that, by being on house team as a student fellow, he acts as the voice for his freshmen. “We know what they want, because we’re their student fellow,” he said.
While anyone on house team gets a VCash stipend of $200, this is not the motivation behind gaining a position on it. Student Fellows, HFI’s and House Officers alike had to go through extensive training before they were allowed to take on their different roles on house team. Grab wrote, “Each House Advisor might share different qualities that they seek when hiring any of those positions given the needs of a particular house.”
A student fellow’s job doesn’t have set times. “Student fellows in general don’t really have set meeting times for every single one of their freshmen,” Cerutti said. “It’s more like, if the freshman texts me and says, ‘hey are you around later, I want to talk to you,’ I’ll try to be available, then.” He added, “It’s not like we have set times or dates when we need to meet with them. Being a Student Fellow is a time commitment, but its one I’m willing to do because it’s not overbearing.”
Cerutti added, “Being a Student Fellow is everything I imagined it to be, and it’s honestly so much more than I thought it ever would be in terms of, its very rewarding, but its also very difficult at times.”
The officers that are elected by the student body which is organized by VSA, do not even get the stipend. “I don’t get paid.” Lucido said, “That’s the difference between from non-elected and elected.” Her role on house team is just as involved, but in different areas from the student fellows. “I help plan study breaks, house events, and as junior rep I work on class council planning junior events,” Lucido said.
House Team has been an integral part of becoming a part of the Vassar community. Kayla Schwab ’17 was elected as Sophomore Rep for Joss this year.
She wrote in an emailed statement, “Ever since my own freshman move-in day, I knew I wanted to be on house team.” Schwab added, “It is definitely a commitment that is worthwhile, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I absolutely loved the fact that a bunch of students collaborated to make me feel at home the moment I arrived on campus, and I was really inspired to be a part of this type of community during my sophomore year.”