Aaron, Agape, Audentia, Belevara, Closson, Edwards, Electa, Faunce, Kimball Manor, Sariah, Shalom, Solah, Stewart Manor, Tiona, Traver. Some of these names we see everywhere on campus. T-shirts, banners in the commons, walking through the dorms, and on the bell. Our house names are always present in our lives at Graceland. However, as you look through that list, you’ll see names that you don’t see every day. Names you may have never heard before. These are the original 15 houses at Graceland University.
Graceland University’s social clubs began as early as 1907. But as time went on, the Council of Student Life decided that the clubs had become “too divisive”. According to The Graceland Book of Knowledge, the Council of Student Life conducted studies, including student polls and campus wide meetings to determine an alternative to social clubs. Thus, the house system was introduced.
I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Sherry Morain to talk about the shift between social clubs and the house system. Her freshmen year she was a part of a social club and her sophomore year she was shifted into the house system. From her perspective, the transition went a little differently.
“I even talked to my good friend who was at Graceland near the same time I was and went through the same experience, and neither one of us remembered in particular any great change in our life because of this. We were busy with other things… So, it was just kind of the way things were” she said. She explained to me how they were inducted into their social clubs, she couldn’t recall how they had been chosen, but somehow, they had been. Then the next year, they were put into houses.
From Kappa Alpha to Traver house the transition was easy for her as she remembered it. “We were told we would be in houses, that there would no longer be social clubs, and I don’t remember crying about that. It was just the way life was…It was all about tradition. Some people were really upset that we were losing tradition” She recalls that it would have been the upper classmen that must have been more upset if anyone.
When it began, each house was given anywhere from 45-67 members. Each house was given a faculty sponsor that was also their pastor. They each had a house president, chosen by the Council of Student Life, and an inner-house court. The inner-house court were 5 members from each house that were assigned to deal with house problems.
Now our house system is the staple of our little community. It’s not fresh or new, it’s our normal. With Homecoming in full swing, I can’t help but feel grateful for the people on my hall. It’s a beautiful mix, with people I wouldn’t know otherwise. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get involved and meet amazing people.
Seven female houses, seven male houses, and one house for married couples. Eight still stand. Happy birthday to the original houses. Graceland is forever changed by your existence and impact.
By Lilly Meier