Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

Shaw House: Built on Leadership and Community

“What dorm do you live in?” 

For many freshmen, this may seem like an average, if not repetitive, question. For members of the Shaw House, however, this question can be a bit nerve-wracking due to the house’s mysterious nature.

“Is it that the creepy house next to Medeiros?” “Is that the one with the kitchen?” “That’s the same as ELP, right?” "I’ve never met anyone who lives there!"

Collectively, these types of questions show a general sense of confusion among the student body about what the Shaw House actually is and who lives there.

Well, for all who might ask themselves those types of questions, here's the answer: The Shaw Leadership Program is a select group composed of 20 freshmen students living in the Shaw House on Upper campus.

Through attending seminars, connecting with alumni, and volunteering in community service, members of the Shaw Leadership Program are taught how to improve their leadership skills in order to become better servant-leaders.

While the program may seem unconventional, overall it is a very unique and special opportunity for students to hone their leadership skills and forge close friendships with like-minded individuals in the process.

Cat Tobia, MCAS ’20, spoke fondly of her experience in Shaw from hanging out in the Shaw lounge to participating in community service events. 

“Shaw has been such a great experience,” Tobia said. “I’ve made some of my best friends at BC through this program.”

20 college students living in one house together could definitely be a recipe for disaster, but Tobia spoke about how her year in the program had a relatively tranquil experience and how everyone got along really well with each other.

“All 20 of us were pretty close for a freshman building and still keep up to date on each other’s lives now!” Tobia said.

From Shawloween to Shawsgiving and Shawlidays, the Shaw House loves to stay in the holiday spirit by putting on programs that allow both Shaw alumni and the current freshmen residents to bond over good food and conversation. There is also a mentorship component to Shaw that has recently evolved into “Shaw Family Trees,” with seniors at the top and then more direct mentors underneath.

Former beloved member of the Princess Room, Rahul Dey, spoke about how even though he transferred to Brown University and is no longer at BC, the people he met through Shaw have become lifelong friends.

“I've made some of my closest friends here,” Dey said. “Relationships for life.”

Jack Thompson, MCAS ‘20, spoke about the friendships he has made and also the amenities that came along with living in Shaw.

“It was great getting to know 19 other freshmen pretty well and having a kitchen to cook in,” Thompson said.

Shaw Alumni Relations Coordinator Sara Orellana, MCAS ‘20, spoke about the unforgettable memories she has made in Shaw House.

“The Shaw Leadership Program holds a special place in my heart,” Orellana said. “Living in the Shaw House freshmen year gave me the chance to create 19 immediate friendships that I still hold very close to my heart.”

Former Mentor Coordinator and current Upperclassmen Coordinator, Mitchell Hale, MCAS ‘21, spoke about his role in facilitating mentor and mentee partnerships between Shaw freshman and veteran upperclassmen. He has plans to create an enhanced upperclassmen agenda for Shaw members in the future as well.

“Our program has improved from being a great program when I came in as a freshman to something truly remarkable that we are continuing to develop,” Hale said. 

Recent developments within the program include redesigning the organization and function of the program’s leadership team, enhancing community service opportunities, fostering a sense of community through the mentorship program, and continuing to hold events that are a great opportunity for the freshmen to network with older Shaw members.

Dominic Cischke, MCAS ‘23, who currently lives in the Shaw House and has firsthand experience of the changes in the program, spoke about how the program has shaped his experience.

“The Shaw Leadership Program has provided me a community of like-minded individuals where important aspects of the college experience can take place,” Cischke said.

“Our goal as a Shaw Leadership team has been to enhance and develop the program so that members can grow and learn to the deepest extent possible while making a positive impact during their four years at BC,” Hale said. 

Orellana added how being on the council has allowed her to expand her connections with the alumni community and meet really special people. 

“The Shaw Program brings in some of the most passionate, talented, and driven people that I have ever met,” Orellana said. 

The once weekly Shaw seminar has also been changed to a monthly event.

“There are still more changes and really cool programs that myself and the rest of the Shaw Leadership Coordinator team are super excited to put into motion,” Hale said. 

The experience of being a part of the Shaw Leadership Program is a truly unique one. The program’s rich history has helped many students to cultivate a deeper understanding of leadership and friendship at BC and will continue to do so due to the dedication of the Council. There’s a lot more to discover beyond the kitchen. 

Ashley Stauber is a senior in MCAS studying Psychology and Political Science. She was born in Connecticut but has lived in Philadelphia for most of her life with her parents, sister, and manx cat. She has always loved to write, especially for Features, and was Editor in Chief for Layout of her high school newspaper. Aside from the Gavel she is involved in BC Model United Nations, Group Fitness as a Pilates and Barre Instructor, BCFullSwing, UGBC, and RHA. Fun fact: While studying abroad in Parma, Italy last semester she unintentionally ran a half marathon with her computer.