Much of the Homestead experience is organic and fluid, changing each semester with new seasons, personalities and priorities. But to keep things running smoothly, homesteaders take on a variety of short and long-term responsibilities.


Everyone contributing to the daily maintenance of the Homestead is part of what makes the Homestead a close-knit community. Each semester, homesteaders make a list of daily chores that need doing and each homesteader assumes responsibility for one or more tasks. Daily chores include:

  • Chopping wood
  • Feeding and looking after animals
  • Tending central boiler during the cold months
  • Cooking meals
  • Grocery shopping
  • Tending gardens
  • Trash and recycling
  • Composting

Beyond daily individual chores, larger tasks and seasonal needs are approached as a group during Saturday morning work parties. Anyone who wants to come help is warmly welcomed!


Another way homesteaders contribute to their community is by volunteering to serve as liaisons to various campus offices. The liaison roles help to filter requests through a central contact (helpful for Denison staff) and provide a go-to person for the homesteaders as needs arise. The liaison roles vary by semester and interest, and include:

  • Facilities
  • PR
  • Safety
  • Trash/recycling
  • Purchasing
  • Residential communities
  • Admissions (tour guide, overnight hosting)


Homesteading naturally lends itself to innovation and reinvention. Part of life as a homesteader includes regularly dreaming up ways to improve the Homestead. In addition to seasonal projects such as planning and preparing the gardens, homesteaders plan individual or group projects as part of each semester’s Homestead Seminar. Past and current projects include:

  • Building a trailhead kiosk at the end of the Homestead driveway
  • Rebuilding the chicken coop and planning for baby chicks
  • Filming a Homestead documentary
  • Writing a guide to all the Homestead’s technical systems
  • Building a hoop house in the lower garden
  • Tapping trees for maple syrup
  • Monitoring the Homestead’s electrical usage and making improvements