Home is Where the Heart Is: Fostering a More Equitable House Experience

Martina Yanovich ’26 in Opinions | May 26, 2024

The Circle and Crescent, which encompass six and five Houses, respectively, are staples of campus life at Lawrenceville: House-based events like House Olympics and the tight bonds Lawrentians form by living in Houses add richness to our school experiences. However, rumors have spread that the House system will soon change dramatically, with three Circle Houses swapping from Houses for male to female residents for the 2025-26 school year. While no details have been finalized, it is rumored that only the gender of those students residing in the Houses will change, while the duty team and the Heads of Houses will stay the same. Such a switch would help close the massive gender gap on campus dramatically by encouraging inter-House mixing. 

The change would level the House culture’s playing field in regards to the Circle’s 200-year head start: the Circle contains a significant amount of history that the Crescent lacks—think of the old footballs, pictures from sports games, and the antique vibe. In my House, we still have pictures and awards belonging to ex-House members, but somehow their perceived significance doesn’t quite match that of those in the Circle. While the Crescent is great—I could not be happier with my House—it lacks a type of pride, which comes from the Circle being older than us all.  Removing a gender connotation from the more historical housing on campus will provide all students with a rich understanding of Lawrenceville’s past. 

In addition, this switch would give boys a taste of how girls currently live at Lawrenceville. Geographically, three steps across the Crescent can take you to someone else's porch. This physical togetherness has given girls at Lawrenceville an even better chance to create deeper connections through spontaneous hang-outs, an opportunity that boys living in the Crescent might experience in coming years. 

Consider the effect this change would have beyond the House’s walls. Keeping Thursday lunches and House-meeting scheduling separated by adapting to a mixed-gender Circle and Crescent system—with both girls and boys living in each of the Circle and Crescent—instead of by sex, the School would remove its dramatic gender divide in any event where the Circle and Crescent are explicitly differentiated. 

No matter where I live on campus, the spirit and pride I have for my House will never fade. During Cookies & Convo talks with my prefects, House meetings where we sing a special birthday song, and even those random days where we all study together in the common room, my House has truly been the place I call home. Even though the switch will shake up two centuries of tradition, it will create a gender unity that Lawrenceville has never seen before, hopefully without diminishing the pride and love each House fosters.