Slade Hall fights to stay in cottage on Trinity

Slade Hall, an independent residential community self-described as a “UVM house of love,” is in danger due to proposed changes by ResLife and the University.

The current residents have mobilized to save it, as outlined by the community “Save Slade” petition.

For those unfamiliar with the community, Slade is an environmental co-op, originally housed on 420 South Prospect St., but recently moved to the cottages on Trinity while construction on its original South Prospect home took place, according to their website.

Slade Hall on Redstone Campus is pictured March 3. Residents of the sustainable living community are currently located on Trinity Campus while this building is repaired. SABRINA HOOD/The Vermont Cynic
[/media-credit] Slade Hall on Redstone Campus is pictured March 3. Residents of the sustainable living community are currently located on Trinity Campus while this building is repaired. SABRINA HOOD/The Vermont Cynic
“In general, the direction of the University is moving toward more programmed housing, with focus groups, kind of similar to Living and Learning,” According to Inter-Residence Association President Natalia Korpanty.

However, according to residents, what makes Slade unique is what it stands for.

The residents of Slade can be any age; even upperclassmen, who typically live off campus, can live in the community. The residents do not get meal plans: instead, they grow their own produce, shop at local food co-ops or farmers markets, and cook together, according to their website.

ResLife is trying to relocate Slade into traditional dorm housing and transition residents to a regular meal plan, which residents say interferes with important principles of the 40-year-old community.

“From what I have gathered, the cottages are in bad condition and so eventually they won’t be used to house students, but instead be more used for academics,” Korpanty said.

IRA has been working hard to compromise with the Slade community, Korpanty said.

“They would temporarily move into the GreenHouse, they would all still be together, and I believe they would get a kitchen as well,” she said.

“I understand where they are coming from,” Korpanty said.

“I have visited the community in the past and it’s an alternative kind of living and I think the main reason they are reluctant is due to the change in meal plan,” she said.

Slade Hall story quote

However,  ResLife is looking for local farms to get involved. “I think there is definitely room for compromise here,” she said.

“Our director of ResLife, Rafael Rodriguez is a huge fan of Slade people, he used to be the assistant director of Redstone,” Korpanty said.

Members of the community feel strongly about circumstances remaining the way they are.

“It is an intentional living community that emphasizes acceptance, love and environmental stewardship,” said first-year Slade resident Margaux Miller.

“It has been a haven, a community for UVM students to take part in.,” Miller said. “Sladers, or visitors to Slade are able to be their fullest, truest selves while leading a genuine, meaningful life surrounded by awesome people.”

“We also are planning several awareness raising events, have created a promotional video that emphasizes what Slade is as a community and I plan to use my position as an SGA Senator to garner support from the Student Government [Association],” Miller said.

“We are planning on reaching out to groups on campus as well as establishments in Burlington to gain even more support,” she said.

Korpanty highlighted the fact that this was not a decision of ResLife, but rather from the University.

“The University has made their decision and I think they could make the GreenHouse into a cool environment until they eventually move back to their original location on Redstone,” she said.

Once the construction on Redstone began, more issues than expected were found, Korpanty said.

“I believe it will be at least one year, but it shouldn’t be more than two years from what I have heard,” she said.

In the meantime, the movement continues to garner support and attention across the UVM community and alumni. The Save Slade website, is home to the petition, and stories about Slade.