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Minerva Program gathers your community

Hometown: New London, N.H.
Majors: Political Science, Spanish & Hispanic Studies

“If you want a great community, you have to get involved,” says Peter Durkin.

He speaks from experience. In addition to his academic work in two departments, Peter is the coordinator of his Minerva House, active in his fraternity and a member of Student Forum, Union’s student government. He also is a member of the Honor Council and coordinates the Homework Help program at Union's Kenney Community Center. 

“I got involved in my Minerva my first week at Union. It was an easy way to introduce myself to other students, and I felt like part of the community from day one,” Peter says. “The upperclass students were extremely welcoming to first-years and asked us what events we wanted to see on campus.”

The Minerva Program makes it easy for all students to join in, whether at French crepes night, a poetry reading or a private dinner with an accomplished artist. With a generous programming budget for each house, every student has the opportunity to organize a guest lecture, trip or special event. 

Here, Peter leads the way in explaining more about the program, in which every student and faculty member is assigned to one of seven Minerva Houses.

Minerva 101

The houses bring students and professors together in an informal setting. Each house receives funding to put on events, which are student-driven and student-run. Even though you’re assigned to a particular house, most Minerva events are open to the entire campus. The houses don’t have themes, so each one brings together a diverse group of people.”

From poetry to politics

The Minervas are a huge part of social life at Union. There’s always something going on. One of the houses hosted a dinner with Richard Blanco, the 2012 U.S. inaugural poet, who was speaking at Union. Another house organizes a whitewater rafting trip each year. I attended a dinner with a professor who is an expert on Eastern European politics. He gave us the background on the current situation between the Soviet Union and the Ukraine. Green House hosts a regular jam session for students and professors who play music.”

Where lives intersect

You can easily be involved in both Greek life and your Minerva House, as I am. They often co-sponsor events such as concerts or parties. In fact, one of the things that drew me to my fraternity was that all the guys are active in their Minerva Houses and elsewhere on campus. Many of us serve in student government, are on Honor Council and work as campus tour guides.”

Dedicated resident

I live at my Minerva House, and, as coordinator, I’m basically there all the time. Essentially, I’m the community facilitator. I keep the schedule of events for our house, everything from bowling and apple picking to a welcome back party after spring break.”

Sharpening skills

The Minervas offer a great way to gain leadership skills. I’ve learned how to communicate well, how interact with various personalities and how to get people to participate in events. These are skills that will serve me well in any career."

Take a seat at Dinner with a Professor:

Click play (above) or view on VIMEO