How Might We Develop A Strong House Culture With Changing Students

Growing up I never thought much about my family 'culture.' We had traditions, customs, pride and community in our home. As an only child, I felt an equal responsibility for all things that happened in our home and contributed to its care and structure with chores and responsibility.

Fast forward to University and living with 6 other girls in a rented house. We all came from different family routines, expectations, and responsibilities. Some knew how to use the washing machine, others lived on ramen noodles for most meals. We had conflict, tension and varying expectations about how committed we should be in helping our 'home' run harmoniously.

While I wouldn't say I was successful in creating house culture or even routines in that University house it is something that I have been striving towards in my work in residence. Over the past 15 years, I've had the privilege of living with students in houses between 15 and 27 girls traveling from all over the world to live in boarding at Lakefield College.

My Action Plan for studying house culture has a multi-prong approach. In December I spent some time researching corporate culture and writings about creating culture. From the Harvard Business Review to to newspaper articles and books.

I’ve spoken with my boarding colleagues at Brentwood College School about house culture and they too are faced with the challenge of students that change and are there for a varying number of years. For them, house culture comes from inter-house competitions and an understanding that students will stay in their residence for their duration of time at the school.

I created a short survey and sent it to all current and past residential staff for their feedback and thoughts.

My next steps = speak with and visit additional Boarding Schools. Continue research on corporate culture and keep moving forward.

I have some ideas on small shifts that will help students identify with their house and build house pride and culture.

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