IHOP into Smith Garner House


Lance Brownfield

The Smith Garner House provides a new space for HISA to meet.

The international students of Henderson have just finished the move from their affectionately titled IHOP (International House of People) building. The Smith Garner House which is shared by the Comics Arts Club and Institutional Review Board is the new hangout to Henderson’s international students. The old IHOP is the new home to all the Greek organizations’ extra stuff.


This means that the international students no longer have a common living quarters. The reason for the relocation is reportedly due to the outdated fire alarm system in the old IHOP. The system was deemed unsafe for a residential building. The move was completed the Friday before spring break, lasting pretty much the entire school year. The decision was made to vacate the building at the beginning of the fall semester.


Many of the international students on campus are crying foul, including Chiebuka Okeke, a junior aviation major from Nigeria.


“It upsets a lot of people, especially the international students,” said Okeke, the President of Henderson International Students Association (HISA). “If I’m to be honest, I feel a little cheated.”


To the members of HISA, who lost their meeting place, it all started to make sense once they found out it would be used by the Greek organizations. While the students cannot live in the new HISA headquarters, there is lots of room for congregating. The new building has a large conference area for HISA to meet, a workspace and computer lab, kitchen, garage, outdoor space for a volleyball net or soccer goal and space for a future gaming room.


According to Blake Smith, the director of international admissions, there are talks of setting aside a block of apartments or housing for international students in the future. Before the move, IHOP housed about 30 students with a 70% to 30% ratio of foreign to domestic. Currently there are 42 students representing nations around the globe, which is down from the 50 Henderson sees in a normal year.


“That house has always had the battery style fire detectors and fire extinguishers,” said Blake. “To be up to the appropriate code, it needed sprinklers. Conservatively, it was going to take $50,000.”


While the number of students from other countries has declined in the last decade, they are all still Reddies. The international alum of Henderson usually leave town after graduation and there is no way for the students’ families to send money over. The Greeks have much more fundraising power than HISA and the former residents of IHOP.


For now, they’ve had to settle for some of the other housing options Henderson has to offer, but their hope is still alive for another home of their own.


“I was very upset about it,” Alina Rudakova, a senior criminal justice major from Ukraine said. “It was my home for almost two years. But greek organizations can use it.”