May 19, 2024

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My old house: 515 Irving Ave.

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Shouts from the living room drew Lauren Schmitz ’18 into the house only to find her roommates Em Green ’17, Amanda Tilton ’17, Sara Frederick ’18 and Katherine Burnside playing Tetris with the furniture. They stacked the chairs precariously on top of the end tables, which had been pushed behind the couch. 

“It was so bizarre to walk in and see that,” Schmitz said. “But honestly, [it was] the best solution because we could all watch HGTV at once. With four of the five roommates being engineers, something weird like this was bound to happen.”

“With four of the five roommates being engineers, something weird like this was bound to happen.”

The layout of the two-story, grey-paneled house at 515 Irving Ave. made it difficult for all five of the residents to watch TV together, according to Schmitz. The living room was long and skinny, and the furniture layout didn’t give way for group watch parties. The “stadium seating,” as the group referred to it, solved their problem. 

The stadium seating also came in handy for club events. The Spectrum House, a special interest housing option for members and allies of the University’s LGBTQ+ student organization, played host to several watch parties during the group’s time there. 

Spectrum movie nights on Fridays and Saturdays brought in members of the club to discover LGBTQ+ films. Spectrum’s then-president Green said the movie nights felt like a giant sleepover and provided a space for students to “relax and unwind away from school stress.” 

Green, who uses the pronouns they/them, said their favorite movie night was the one hosted right before Christmas break in 2017. 

“I got to see all the happy faces and comfort of everyone enjoying their time together before the real holidays, which I knew for some were going to be stressful,” Green said. 

Green says they hold that holiday celebration close, as it was with their “found family,” a term used to describe a group of people who come to love each other like a birth family. Nearly 39% of LGBTQ+ adults have faced rejection from their birth families, according to GLAAD, an advocacy organization first formed by members of the media. 

“[It] gave me a sense of  peace,” Green said, recalling the moment feeling like 515 Irving was home — “a home celebrating Christmas with all [its] kiddos.”

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