Intentional residential communities are not an entirely new concept to Wellesley. There are language hallways, like the Mandarin Hall and German Corridor; language houses, like Casa Cervantes and French House; and student cooperatives such as the sustainability-focused Homestead and feminist Instead. Recently, students proposed a student-organized “intentional community on sustainability” for the next academic year, which would be located in a dorm hallway on campus.
Bella O’Connor ’21 was one of a number of students who came up with the idea of a sustainability hallway while chatting with friend Sophie Hurwitz ’21 at a party.
“If you want to be a part of a community with a particular goal, there’s often a long and arduous application process –– which is certainly necessary in some cases –– but should definitely not be as common as it is. If you want to be in an intentional space where you can better yourself, the environment and the community then you should have every opportunity to do so,” O’Connor said.
While the idea of the sustainability hallway is still in its early stages in terms of coordinating with Residential Life, the student founders do have well-defined goals for the living space next year.
“In a nutshell, we want to be able to live a more ethical lifestyle to the best of our ability and support each other on our journeys to make the world we live in and ourselves a little bit better,” O’Connor added.
There are other people on campus who share the same interests as well. There were around ten people at the meeting held to gauge interest and others who expressed interest via email, as well. The founders do not plan on turning anyone away from living in the sustainability hallway, something not commonly seen with intentional communities at Wellesley.
Although Wellesley already has a co-op on campus regarding sustainability, SCOOP, O’Connor explains the differences between SCOOP and the proposed sustainability hallway.
“We love SCOOP! But it’s far away from the rest of campus, very competitive to get into and you don’t have much of an opportunity to interact with them unless you’re part of their organization. I think we just want to create a space for like-minded individuals who are dedicated to sustainability, friendship and personal growth to live together that is available to far more people in the community be a part of,” she said.
Proposed events for the sustainability hallway include plant-based community dinners, movie and discussion nights, an online resource library and shared skills, such as cooking and gardening. All events will be open to the Wellesley community.
Although the plans are not finalized, the student organizers are working with Residential Life to find a dorm to live in and are confident that the sustainability hallway will be established next year.
“I want Wellesley to know that this is an open space for anyone in the community who wants to better themselves by being in a community to an ethical lifestyle to the best of their ability,” said O’Connor. “We’re all here to learn and grow from each other, and anyone who wants to take the first steps, whether it be in education or practice, is more than welcome!”