Principia had a big turnover in resident counselors (RCs) over the past few semesters, as evidenced by the large number of job postings on the college website. However, four hires have begun working this semester in Joseph McNabb House, Howard House, Sylvester House, and Clara McNabb House. As these new RCs begin to transition into the Principia community, they must work with preexisting house cultures in order to bring unity and harmony to the dorms.
Marina Byquist, who also works as Principia’s International Student Coordinator, was hired as Clara’s non-traditional support staff member at the beginning of this fall semester. Byquist said she loves Clara because of the sense of diversity and unity that the house has. “The culture of homemade family meals [and] food brings people together. My husband and I love cooking, and see it as a way to bring people in the house together. We’ve had breakfast food competitions, and next is an American southern traditional meal. Everyone in [non-traditional] housing is very independent, but we still want to have house unity,” she said. Byquist also values the cultural diversity within the house, as 10 out of the 13 students in Clara are international.
John Biggs is the new RC in Sylvester. He previously attended Principia College as a student and felt that being an RC was a great opportunity to serve Principia. “Being [in Sylvester] has affirmed and deepened my respect and appreciation for [its] sense of home and individuality,” said Biggs. He added that he would like to uphold the traditions of Sylvester while bringing a sense of togetherness to the house.
“Sylvester is special because it’s not a source of social events or an activity hub. Instead, it’s a home. So when people are here they’re not necessarily looking for stuff to do, but are just being themselves with their friends. I feel really happy being here with my family,” said Biggs. He added that he and his family “love playing board games and hanging out together [with the students].”
Kim Hedge, the new resident counselor for Joe, never attended Principia College. She is a graduate of Washington University in Washington State. Before coming to Principia, Hedge lived in Zambia for two years, where she worked with a non-profit organization called Every Child Fed.
Hedge started working at Principia during week seven this semester. “[The] beautiful and loving [Principians]… have made the transition very easy and friendly. [Joe] has great women, and I am getting to know them,” she said. Hedge travelled to many countries including France, Zambia, Uganda and United States. Those experiences gave her a good background for being Joe’s RC, because many students in that dorm are international. “I am excited to… build a relationship between international and domestic students,” said Hedge.
Lizzie Loomis is Howard’s new resident counselor, and attended both Principia Upper School and College (C ‘04). Both Loomis and her mother were residents of Howard while they were students at the college. She began as Howard’s RC during week four of this semester. Before coming to Principia, she worked as a cook on sailboats on both the East Coast and the West Coast.
Loomis values the old traditions associated with Howard. “It was started as a women’s house and has stayed as a women’s house. It has a very strong sense of sisterhood, and keeps in touch with its alumni for a long time.” But Loomis is also looking ahead. “I am open to any decisions about what the house wants… Howard House is very welcoming, and the women are loving.”