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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

CANOE club moves to new house

<ir="ltr">The Carleton Organization of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts (CANOE) is experiencing an increase in club membership after moving to Wade Johnson Memorial House, the newly renovated  Hill house.  The new CANOE house will be the home of club operations and several members.

Wade Johnson Memorial House was made possible by the Johnson family. Their son, Wade Bruce Johnson ’07 was an active member of CANOE, serving as House Manager during his time in Chaney, CANOE’s former residence. Wade died in 2009, shortly after his graduation. In his honor, his family donated the house. CANOE club members were involved in the house design process, according to Emma Velis ’17, CANOE President. Initial plans were to renovate Chaney. However, the college rejected this plan and instead assigned Hill as CANOE’s new home. CANOE members worked with the family, making a list of requests that would help the club to grow and function, according to Velis.

Requests included a projector for movie showings, a large kitchen that would allow for open dinners and a mixture of single and double rooms so that upperclassmen hoping to live on their own would not be discouraged from choosing CANOE.

“Two years ago when we first got wind of the grant, it became clear that the Johnson family wanted the current CANOE house and board to be a part of the design process in the hopes of making the house not just a college dorm but really set up for our needs and wants,” said Becca McGehee ’17, a former house member and current board member.

Archibald Fraser ’18, a board member, said he felt a little uncomfortable when he first arrived but clarified that this would be the case with any new house. “Hill was falling apart,” he said. “It was an old house, and it wasn’t up to fire code.”

When it was renovated, the house had to be brought up to modern standards. Because no other houses have recently been renovated, the same level of improvements have not yet been made elsewhere, he explained.

CANOE hopes that the new space will have a positive impact on club participation, according to Velis. For example, the club requested that there be no bedrooms on the first floor, “so that nobody feels like they are invading someone’s home,” said Velis. She said this has helped create an especially welcoming space.

Similarly, McGehee said, “Normally at the beginning of term, we have that first meeting and 100 to 200 people show up. We maybe see 20-30 again, but we’ve had very consistent meetings of over 30 people.

“I think that level of interest will mean just that more trips will go out in the long run as those people become trip leaders and leaders within the club.”

Alice Antia ’18, a house member, agrees that Hill is a much more practical gathering space. She said that the first floor always fills up for meetings, often with upwards of 30 people. A recent indoor barbecue brought roughly 100 students to the house. Fraser and Velis also said they saw an increase in attendance this year, and attributed it partially to the larger space.

“Our hope is that having a larger house will get more people involved in CANOE,” said Fraser.

Antia, Fraser and Velis listed the kitchen as their favorite feature of their new home. Fraser explained that he hopes the house can become similar to Dacie Moses, a place where people can come to hang out, do homework, and play games. Velis said she wants the campus community to know they are always welcome to come by, but that Tuesday night dinners are always open to everyone.

“It’s might be a really big space, but we’re really loud and really messy, so we’ve managed to make this space pretty homey pretty fast,” she said.

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