New resident masters will oversee new Palevsky student residenceBy Carrie Golus
As British citizens who attended the University of Oxford, Martin and Lucy have never experienced a student housing system such as the one the University operates, with faculty residents, resident heads and assistants, and a strong sense of communal dormitory life.
In Britain, that kind of support system for students doesnt exist, Lucy explained. I think its a wonderful idea having faculty and more mature students in the dorm. Its something that we certainly did not have when we were at university.
Martin, an Associate Professor in Music, has taught at the University since 1997. A specialist in ethnomusicology, he is the Administrative Director of the Middle East Ensemble, Javanese Gamelan and the World Music Concert series. Lucy, a certified teacher of French and German, who once ran her own jewelry-making business in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is now a nursery school teacher at K.A.M. Isaiah-Israel. The couple have two children, Catriona, 9, and Sam, 7.
The two decided to become Palevskys first Resident Masters in July, when the building was still under construction. We just thought, well, why not? said Martin. There are some tremendously interesting and exciting aspects of taking up this particular residency. Its so big, its so central, its so new.
While the audaciously bright and modern Palevsky is certainly different from previous places where Martin and Lucy have lived, they do not imagine the transition will be difficult.
The light in Palevsky is so nice. Its cheerful, said Lucy. I think this will be the first time weve ever lived in a brand-new building—were used to living in older buildings that have been knocked about a bit. Thats part of what is exciting for everyone whos going to live there. Were going to be the first people who have that address.
Martin added, Its growing on me on a daily basis. Im just dying to see the place full of people. I think its going to work very well.
Another exciting aspect of their new endeavor, according to Lucy, is that the building doesnt come with decades of established traditions. So many of the dorms have traditional activities that they do year after year, she said. Theres a precedent set for the resident masters to follow. But with Palevsky, were starting from scratch.
While traditions will take a while to establish, one programming priority is to take advantage of the many cultural and artistic activities on campus. We want to capitalize on the position of Palevksy, said Martin. Its so close to Court Theatre, Smart Museum and Mandel Hall, where the University of Chicago Presents has their events.
And while Martin and Lucy plan to offer field trips to well-traveled Chicago neighborhoods such as the Loop, they also would like to organize activities closer to home. Were quite interested in connecting with the immediate locality, said Martin. There are so many things happening so close to us, like the local blues scene, the local gospel scene, the local jazz scene.
For Martin and Lucys children, the move to Palevsky was not a difficult sell—especially when they heard about the new Bartlett Dining Commons, scheduled to open in January 2002. They are so looking forward to the eating arrangements, said Martin. Theyre masters of their own domain, as far as what goes into their stomachs.
Lucy added, I think were going to have to set some ground rules, probably. Something green with every meal. A suggestion she might also want to pass along, gently, to her first-year students.