Intentional community shares highs and lows

My intention to use this column as a means of broadcasting the creation and growth of an intentional community right here on Saint Louis Uni-versity’s campus has come to the fore. Here’s my chance to tell you why you should care. First, let me give you some background.

Late in 2007, two SLU students, Rebecca Gorley and Jennifer Lay, came together upon learning of their mutual desires to begin an intentional community of fellow SLU students. Their dreams materialized in the form of 10 upperclassmen/upperclasswomen enjoying community life in a few Grand Forest apartments.

Early last fall, we convened an overnight retreat off campus where the tenets were communally debated and declared. We would attempt mindful living, sharing, accompaniment, celebration and peace in our upcoming school year together. These values resonate in the community today as I will detail, generating a worthwhile experience for all involved and thus sparking action on my part to advocate on behalf of similar efforts.

Doors frequently open and slam amongst our three apartments as members enter, leave or switch rooms to join one another for comfort or cuisine, studies or discussion. All of us share, whether in the borrowing of kitchenware, cotton swabs, strainers and books, or the sharing on Sundays of our highs and lows, conflicts and concerns.

Accompaniment is visible in the frequent hugs and calls of “How was your day?” This value is especially easy to uphold as the majority of us discern our post-graduation potentials. Additionally, we have an organized set of responsibilities throughout the week that are to be completed in pairs. Two at a time we grocery shop, prepare meals and pick up leftover edibles from Whole Foods Market for our school’s Campus Kitchen, allowing for the growth of our personal friendships with each other.

The ideal of mindful living has manifested into mountains of recyclables waiting to be transported to their respective silos. It is seen in the outing every Friday to the Soulard farmers’ market to buy cheap and local vegetables, meat and cheese and converse with the vendors.

Celebration is illustrated as we dance regularly to Ben Harper’s “Better Way” and host friends for the Thanksgiving meal and occasional late night merrymaking. Card and board game habits have been cultivated onto our coffee tables as well.

The combination of tenets in display year round has made for a fun, fulfilling, and peace-inducing community experience that I recommend to everyone who has the time, will and whatever else it takes to conceive and construct a community living situation. Don’t get me wrong: Conflicts may arise, but the positive outcomes of the experience outweigh the trials.

If you get the chance and feel ready, throw yourself into an intentional community. The rewards are bound to enrich your residential identity and hopefully so much more.

Justin Lorenz is a senior in the College of Education and Public Service.

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