When living in a student residence, the community that is built among residents feels like family. Adam and Owen Roth are both first-year students who have been living at Conrad Grebel University College since fall 2022. Since then, they’ve grown to “love the Grebel community!” However, one crucial thing was missing from their new lifestyle: suppers at Grandma’s.  

“Before we came to Grebel, Owen and I would eat meals at Grandma Leola Roth’s house every week,” said Adam. University life can get quite busy, but taking time to spend time and reconnect with family is priceless. “When we came to Grebel, although the Grebel meals are fantastic, we still missed spending time at Grandma’s,” he added. That is why Grandma Leola Roth was more than delighted to host suppers on Saturday nights for the Roth cousins and their friends.  

The gift of hospitality, stories, love, and wisdom that a multigenerational environment provides is priceless. Not long after the first visit to Grandma’s, Owen knew he wanted to share this joy with a different kind of family: people from Grebel. “Our goal has become to invite all sorts of Grebelites to Grandma’s for dinner in the same way that the Fill-the-Table tradition brings random Grebelites together!” 

Warm hospitality comes naturally to Leola Roth — as soon as her grandsons and their friends from Grebel arrive at her home, she has a table full of food prepared and a loving smile on her face. “She always makes sure to have dessert to share, and sometimes even two different kinds. Grandma always encourages her guests to eat as much as they would like,” said Adam. “She absolutely loved it when our friend David ate a large slice of pie followed by three tarts!” he recalled.  

It does not take Grandma Leola long to facilitate conversation and connection while the group digs into the homecooked meal. “Our conversations usually consist of stories about ancestry, what town you’re from, funny memories, and how life was long ago,” said Adam. “Grandma always has plenty of wisdom to share with us,” he added. 

Grebelites playing Mini Sticks in Grandma Roth's basement

“Following dinner, we will often just have conversation with Grandma and play a game. Or, if we are really feeling it, we’ll play a sweaty game of Mini Sticks in the basement like we are kids again,” shared Adam. It is tapping into this carefree, child-like spirit that turns moments into precious memories that will stay cherished for years to come.  

“We love the joyous connection encouraged by our trips to Grandma’s. We love bringing together groups of Grebelites who might otherwise not get together,” said the cousins. “Sometimes, a trip to Grandma’s is just what we need. Also, we just love her food,” they added.  

“When we leave, Grandma always thanks everyone for coming and says we’re all welcome to come back anytime,” said Owen and Adam. “The Grebelites we take with us are always very grateful and excited to come another time!” Grebel is all about building community, but not only in residence. Lively community is a bond that remains strong beyond Grebel doors. 

By Farah Jurdi