Maggie Thrall ’26 (She/Her)
We Are Wildcats is a human-winterest column that aims to share the extraordinary within the ordinary at Davidson College and to showcase the inspiring things that make each and every Wildcat unique. If you wish to be featured or know someone whose story needs to be heard, please feel free to contact email@example.com! Stay tuned for future stories! This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you tell me a little bit about your interests and what you’re passionate about around campus?
Lily Bryant ‘25: I’m definitely a service-oriented person. That’s been a big driving factor for me since high school. So I definitely wanted to join something on campus that was service-based, and that’s how I found the eating houses. My aunt actually had breast cancer, so what drew me to Connor was their organization, which I think is actually a really unpopular answer. I feel like for me, that was always my top one before I even met any of the girls purely because of my research on what organization they sponsored and worked with.
How would you say joining an eating house has affected your social life here at Davidson?
Lily: I think it affected it in a positive way. It’s nice being able to go and get lunch there because I feel like when I go to Commons, I get a lot of social anxiety walking in alone. But in Connor when you walk in, there’s always somebody there that I feel comfortable having a conversation with. That’s been really good for me because I have totally different schedules than my friends so I never eat meals with them and I used to just not eat lunch because I would have no one to eat with. But now it’s like, I can just walk into Connor, grab a plate, and sit down and start talking with people.
Can you explain how the process of entering an eating house works?
Lily: Basically, there’s a meeting with all of the PCC organizations in the spring, right towards the end of the first semester or the very beginning of second semester. It’s an all-freshmen meeting where e-board members from each organization come and talk. There’s a form of WildcatSync to fill out, and it just asks if you’re interested in joining an eating house. You click yes and fill out a consent form. After that I got an email like a week later that asked us to rank our eating houses. I had three best friends, so us four wanted to cluster together. You can cluster with as many people as you want: two, three, four. And then you get placed into a house after the lottery.
Do you know what the different eating houses are on campus and their missions?
Lily: Connor helps fight breast cancer, Warner focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, Turner is dedicated to reproductive rights and mental health advocacy this year, and Rusk is committed to fighting hunger.
What about other PCC organizations? Do you know the eating house to frat ratio?
Lily: I would say there’s definitely less men that participate in fraternities than there are girls who participate in eating houses. All of the frats are very different in their own unique way and have different types of guys in them. There’s eight frats total including two historically Black and one historically Hispanic. It’s the same with sororities. Which is why all freshmen meetings are so helpful because you do hear from every organization.
What type of events do the eating houses host?
Lily: For Connor, we host two parties in the fall. They usually end at 12, so they don’t go super late. We also have a Connor Crush which is a fun excuse to dress up and we anonymously email boys and get them to come and hang out with us, and we have a semi formal in the fall. We also have service events.
How do you raise money for your service?
Lily: We have multiple profit shares throughout the year with Orange Theory, Ben and Jerry’s, Chipotle. We have a 5k coming up on October 22 and we generate a lot of money through that. We had about 120 participants last year and are expecting like, 150 this year, which is good. We usually secure sponsors, or we get a lot of donations from a lot of stores in town.
So it’s a lot of relying on the Davidson community?
Lily: We’ve partnered a lot with the community, and I also think that there’s a lot of Connor alumni that stay in Davidson, which is super helpful. Everyone’s really motivated, and I think we do a good job of raising awareness, and, you know, getting donors and raising money: whether it’s like $5, $1, like, every bit counts.
Lastly, what advice would you give to someone wanting to join an eating house?
Lily: Definitely go to the events. There’s no alcohol served, so you can just go, and that’s a great way to meet the girls in the house. We want you to be there and we want you to find your fit. We want you to want to be in the house and want to be passionate towards what we do. So if you see that event on a Friday night, even if it’s totally out of your comfort zone, try and go for 30 minutes and just see if you like it. Go and say ‘hi’ to somebody or you know, if you’re wandering around, someone’s definitely gonna come up to you!