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Ladd reopens doors in celebration of intersectionality

September 1, 2023

Amira Oguntoyinbo
LADD AT LAST: Students explore affinity group tables during the Ladd House Kickoff. Renovations of Ladd recently ended, welcoming the Center for Multicultural Life; THRIVE; Sexuality, Women and Gender Center; the Rachel Lord Center of Religious and Spiritual Life; and the Student Accessibility Office into its space.

After a year of renovations, Ladd House reintroduced itself to students on Thursday evening with a welcome event, which took up the whole first floor of the building and spilled out onto the patio. The event was complete with music, affinity group stations and a formidable line in front of the Taco the Town food truck.

Before the remodel, Ladd was one of (at the time) eight college houses: home to sophomores and a party venue for all. Now, the house has become a hub for the College’s affinity groups and the headquarters for the Center for Multicultural Life (CML); THRIVE; Sexuality, Women and Gender Center (SWAG); the Rachel Lord Center of Religious and Spiritual Life; and the Student Accessibility Office.

These organizations have triple the programming space compared to that of 24 College and 30 College, where they were previously housed.

Along with the extra space, the move was motivated by a desire to create more collaboration between the organizations, all of which address diversity and identity on campus.

“Being in separate buildings made it so that sometimes we could go days without being able to talk to each other,” Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for Inclusion and Diversity and Director of Multicultural Student Life Eduardo Pazos said.

Pazos believes that putting the various groups under the same roof will remedy any communication strains that existed in the past.

“The opportunities to brainstorm and collaborate have grown even just in the last two and a half weeks that we’ve been in the house,” Director of Student Accessibility Lesley Levy said.

Pazos named the importance of intersectional identities as another reason for combining 24 and 30 College.

“One of the pieces of feedback that we heard from students is that often it felt like you had to choose one piece of your identity,” Pazos said. “All of us being together opens up the idea of an integrated approach to the self—the idea that all of you can come here and there are offices and resource centers, inside of Ladd House, that can support all aspects of your identity.”

This more integrated approach was present at the kickoff event, where affinity group leaders were pleased with the turnout.

“I would usually only see these people at different events—I’d catch certain people at SWAG, or I would only catch them at 30 [College] or at the prayer room,” Co-President of Muslim Student Alliance (MSA) Eisa Rafat ’25 said. “Everybody is in this proximity, and the community is forming in a way that it traditionally wouldn’t have.”

The transition from college house to office space involved more than just throwing away twin XL mattresses and scrubbing out any lingering beer stains; the building was completely gutted down to the exterior brick wall and redesigned to comply with the College’s sustainability standards. This meant installing better insulation, motion sensor lights and much more.

“Sustainability was really built into the heart of what this new building is,” Pazos said.

Co-President of the Student Organization for Caribbean Awareness (SOCA), Mitri Traile ’25 saw the new space for the first time at the kickoff event.

“The new Ladd House is really beautiful,” he said. “[It] has a really nice aura to it now; it feels nice and open.”

Rafat was similarly content with the conclusion of construction and the return of Ladd House.

“From it being [a college house] to a dead space to now seeing it so lively once again is something really amazing,” Rafat said.


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