Bates at Night: Hearth

At the dinner gathering known as Hearth, participants can share their thoughts, simply sit in silence, or anything in between.

“I think that’s really the beauty of Hearth: It’s so simple,” says Multifaith Fellow Keenan Shields ’18 of Pittsford, N.Y. “It’s just some food, a couple of candles, and some good questions.”

The quiet can last, too, which some find comforting — once you get used to it.

Multifaith Fellow Jeremy Glover ’17 of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was “really weirded out” by the silence. “Like, ‘Why is no one responding?'”

Over time, he “sort of grew to really appreciate just the sharing aspect of it, being able to share in the silence.”

At Hearth, students can find themselves in an intimate setting with students they don’t know. “I’ve heard students say it’s a place where they feel that cliques dissolve,” says the Rev. Brittany Longsdorf, the college’s multifaith chaplain, who hosts the dinner at her Ware Street home.

After dinner, students break into groups to discuss prompts chosen by the Multifaith Fellows. Thursday’s topics were “What are you excited to jump into?” and “What is something that is changing color in your life?”

Hearth offers students a respite from the academic buzz that occupies their minds much of the time, says Longsdorf.

“I see it as this really beautiful space to think with your heart instead of your head,” she says. “There’s something about breaking bread together and having a meal that just makes it feel really cozy and almost instantly intimate.”


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