Quarantining in the Huss House

One student shares their story of staying in Millikin's forgotten building.

March 31, 2020

People around the globe are searching for a safe haven in this time of extreme uncertainty. That concept is all too familiar to Millikin students who recently returned from our spring break immersion to Europe. 

After fleeing multiple countries, scrambling to book flights, and making the frightening journey home, some of us students felt lost, not knowing where we were going to stay. With the threat of a fourteen-day quarantine, as well as not being able to pack up our belongings, going home wasn’t an option for all of us. 

In our time of uncertainty, we looked to Millikin. In their time of uncertainty, Millikin looked to the Huss House.

Marissa Martinez was one of the students who went on an immersion trip to Scandinavia. She is currently the only student in the Huss House. Martinez chose to stay the full fourteen-day quarantine in the Huss House, and once quarantine is over, she plans on getting alternative housing on campus.

 Since she is isolated in the house, and the terms of her quarantine don’t allow her to leave, Millikin students and staff have helped Martinez with necessities such as food, toiletries, and school supplies. 

“I had one of my sorority sisters pack necessities like clothes, toiletries, and my laptop into my car so they could easily be transferred here,” she said. “For food, Millikin has been delivering meals to the house for lunch and dinner every day. If there is ever anything I need, I can just call Public Safety.” 

Martinez said that Nicole DeLiberis began delivering her meals a few days into the quarantine. DeLiberis labeled one of the meals with a smiley face, which helped brighten Martinez’s day. 

“I really appreciate all the trouble that they are going through for me,” Martinez said.

 Martinez says that DeLiberis, alongside Paul Lidy and Charlie Rolfes, have been checking up on her and helping with things she needs. 

“Millikin has gone above and beyond for me during my time in their isolation,” Martinez said. She was specifically impressed with Millikin’s dining services. “I was put in contact with Charlie Rolfes, the Food Service Director for Millikin. Charlie has been so kind, continuously checking in on me and keeping me updated on things. I was sent a menu from Dining Services where I could select which meals I wanted for each day.”

Martinez says she is passing the time by watching Netflix, skyping her friends, and exploring the house. 

“On day one of living here, I did some exploring and flipped through some of the yearbooks on a bookshelf,” Martinez said. “There was a yearbook from the eighties that showed Millikin’s marching band and a picture of our mascot, which was a horrific bird. The more you know.”

The Huss House was originally built to house Millikin’s first president, Albert Taylor. It is named Huss House because, after Taylor’s death and after the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority briefly occupied the house, a man names Royce Huss lived in the house. Huss was a 1937 Millikin graduate and his wife Mickey’s father helped build the house. According to Millikin’s website, the house was named in honor of that family and President Patrick White even lived there when he first came to Millikin.

Though the Huss House has wifi, Martinez has struggled with certain aspects of online classes. 

“There are still a lot of my things that I need for class that I don’t have access to yet. For most of my classes, I need to have my keyboard or access to a piano. I also need access to music and worksheets that are still at my sorority, as well as my drumsticks and ukelele.”

Thankfully, Martinez said her professors have been understanding, but she knows she will need these things soon. 

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