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COMMunity House Is New Neighbor on the Stratford Block

Organizers hope a unique living setup will give communication students a sense of unity – and good times, too.

Date: 8/11/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Other Contact: Steve Fuller
Photos By: Britt Kennerly

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The Department of Communication has always been proud of the lasting relationships it builds among faculty, students and alumni. This sense of community is on display every spring when Professor Lisa Newman and a team of hardworking volunteers organize CommCeleb, a celebration of the department's past, present and future graduates.

If CommCeleb is considered the culmination of the department's yearlong pursuit of healthy, vibrant community, then the COMMunity House is destined to become an important means for getting there.

Left to right: Michael Sharp, doctoral student; Nancy Jennings, assistant professor of communication; Steve Fuller, adjunct assistant professor of communication; and Brittany Collins, graduate student.


In addition to its three thriving student groups and popular internship program, the Department of Communication will now be unveiling its new COMMunity House this fall when 24 students and one community advisor move in, and three faculty members occupy first-floor offices. The house is located in the Stratford Heights complex on Clifton Avenue, directly across the street from McMicken Hall.

Communication students will have the opportunity to live with fellow classmates and experience all of the amenities Stratford Heights has to offer – TV and study lounges, free laundry, fully equipped kitchen, outdoor deck with gas grill, secured entrance, wireless Internet, game and fitness rooms, basketball and volleyball court, and 24-hour emergency assistance.

Communication graduate students Kathleen Hunt, left, and Michelle Altenau will work in an office in the department's new COMMunity House.

But communication majors living in the house will also enjoy additional privileges – access to onsite faculty advisors, close proximity to student groups and the convenience of living with Community Advisor Brittany Collins, currently completing her graduate degree in communication.

"The COMMunity House is a home away from home for communication students," says Collins, "and they can expect an inviting environment in which their academic, extracurricular and social goals can be met."

Michael J. Sharp, a current doctoral student at UC, plans to study the ways in which students make sense of this unique social environment. "When students have the ability to socialize, learn, play and work together, they will often form bonds that will last a lifetime," states Sharp.

Assistant Professor Nancy Jennings first considered the idea of occupying a house in Stratford Heights when she suddenly needed additional office space to house her grant-funded research lab, and immediately saw amazing potential for the whole department.

"I soon began to realize that what Stratford Heights offered was much more than just an office space," says Jennings. "It was a sense of place – of belonging – where undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty could bring the lessons of the classroom across Clifton and practice them in the COMMunity."

Adjunct Assistant Professor Steve Fuller will serve as faculty advisor for the house, and hopes students realize the value of such a rare opportunity. "There is nothing wrong with living in traditional dorms, and the Greek system at UC is wonderful, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop lasting friendships with the people you see in class every day," suggests Fuller.

"Imagine late-night study sessions in the lounge, walking downstairs in your pajamas to meet with an advisor, and playing sand volleyball with housemates after class."

Single rooms start at $600 per month and double rooms rent for as little as $500. For additional information or to secure your spot in the COMMunity House before it's too late, please contact Steve Fuller.

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