Smurthwaite House inspires community goals of scholarship, leadership for residents

Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House resides alongside the east side of KSU campus. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen)

Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House is an off-campus, all-women house. The close-knit group lives by four pillars: leadership, friendship, scholarship and service. To them, Smurthwaite is home.

“I think we have a really strong community that encourages everyone in the house to do their best,” Avery Rose Micke, senior in geography, said. “Which sounds really cheesy, but it matters.

Along with that, Smuthwaite is a familiar community.

It’s really cool to have a community where everyone gets to know everyone,” said MacKenzie Cline, president of Smurthwaite and junior in biological systems engineering. “Maybe you’re not best friends with everybody, but you have a lot of familiar faces. You can eat together for meals and you can just have a good time, and when you have a hard day you get to come back and have so many familiar faces to help support you.”

Throughout the academic year, their executive council holds events that allow residents to form a stronger bond.

“We just had our third annual mystery dinner this semester which is not a murder mystery dinner,” Cline said. “It’s like you get a menu and everything has a theme, but you have no idea what you’re ordering, and you order it between four courses. And then you might not order your fork in the same course as your spaghetti and then you have to eat it and it gets messy, and it’s just silly and that’s just a really fun event.

“During finals week we have rowdy hours so it’s 23 hours of quiet hours but for one hour each day of finals week the floor presidents will plan an activity where people can come and participate in if they want,” she said. “And there will be ‘Just Dance’ and maybe even finger painting. Basically, things where you can be loud, and it can be okay during finals week.”

Another aspect about the house is that they name their kitchen appliances. Some examples are George the garbage disposal, Teana the tea kettle, Delilah the dishwasher, Ollie and Oliver the ovens and Tony the toaster.

In addition to simple, fun activities, Smurthwaite also takes the time to discuss serious topics.

We brought in three guests — one was transgender, one was non-binary and then one was a cisgender woman,” said Tara Magana, equity and inclusion chair of Smurthwaite and junior in psychology. “They kind of just talked about different gender experiences in a heteronormative world. And then I’ve also done programs with intersectionality and classism. I’ve also made lists of different events happening on campus and told everyone about those and just generally trying to make a more accepting atmosphere around Smurthwaite and just keep developing that.

If there’s one word to describe Smurthwaite that would be “passionate,” Micke said.

“Anybody can apply to live in Smurthwaite,” Cline said. “It’s such a welcoming and diverse community and it’s a really cool family to be a part of.”