It began over tacos, as many good things in life do.
Current roommates Gemma Aldana ’17, Karen Osborne ’16, Rachel Morrison ’16, and Tori Newman ’15 (pictured above) first joined forces in The Roost thanks to Bon Appétit’s “late night” dining option, where students can swipe for a fourth meal between 10-11 p.m. once a week.
There, they satisfied their midnight munchies (a common symptom of end-of-the-semester study sessions), and tested out a possible living situation.
“We decided that we could live together because we were all normal enough to enjoy tacos,” says Morrison, a classics and English literature major from Hudson, Ohio.
“It was the first thing we bonded over,” says Newman, a religion major hailing from Willard, Ohio, with a laugh.
Newman, Morrison, Osborne, and Aldana, like 90 other students on campus this summer, have been awarded stipends to stay in Granville and research alongside a professor for 10 weeks.
“We sometimes call ourselves ‘the perfect storm apartment’ because we are probably one of the most diverse rooms on campus. We have all grade levels, except incoming first-years, and we have almost all academic disciplines represented,” says Newman, who is continuing her research project from last summer and simultaneously beginning her senior research project this summer with David Woodyard of the religion department. “It’s the liberal arts experience in here.”
And their Chamberlin basement apartment, with a wall-full of finished coloring pages, is a microcosm of the Denison experience. In addition to Newman’s research of intentional Christian communities in America, Morrison is comparing the works of Ovid and Milton with Garrett Jacobsen in the classics department; Osborne is working with Bob Weis of the psychology department to investigate learning disabilities and behavioral techniques used in Licking County schools; and Aldana is studying the biomechanics of dance with physics professor Melanie Lott ’04.
While there are many other reasons to stay in Granville during the summer, such as nearby internships or campus jobs like roles in the library or information technology services, this quad finds it comforting to be surrounded by other Summer Scholars.
“Doing research is a very unique lifestyle,” says Osborne, a Cross Plains, Tenn., native and psychology major who hopes to do research again next summer. “It’s kind of like having homework constantly. There is always something that you can be doing. It’s nice to live with people who get that.”
“I have some friends who work until 2 or 3 in the morning on their projects. They sleep in until 11 everyday but that shows you the cycle of research. You make your own schedule, whatever that may mean,” says Newman.
But it is not all work and no play. Research sessions are regularly interrupted for midnight runs to the Steak N’ Shake in Newark, visits to their garden plot (located behind the senior apartments), experimental cooking sessions in their kitchen, coloring meetings, puzzle breaks (their completed masterpiece is displayed—with signatures – on their kitchen table).
With summer slowly winding down, this group is finishing up their individual projects and preparing to move out of their apartment, either directly into their fall living arrangements or home for a short time.
They hope, however, to finish their time together as it started—with tacos, probably from one of the two Mexican restaurants located in town.
“It would be a fitting way to end it all!” says Morrison.