Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moving Forward....

Over the summer, in order to prepare for the new season of Belmont’s Room in the Inn, all of us on the leadership team read the book Shelter by Scott Seider, explaining the ins and outs of a shelter in Harvard. The book really helped us to better grasp the mission of our program and demonstrate to us the impact that we as students will have on the people we serve. 

As a community, by impacting others we can make an impact on ourselves in a way that may change our view of homelessness for the better. By sharing our hearts and our stories to these men, we may learn as much or more from them as they learn from us. In Shelter, it focused on giving the guests an opportunity to teach others and share their knowledge to a younger generation, making both guests and students volunteers to each other. Service can impact so many lives, and it is through service that we, as well as the greater community, are transformed.

This year, we are anticipating a lot of growth. With a new leadership team, we have learned to depend on each other as well as Belmont's campus community to make growth possible. With the framework of Shelter in mind, we are looking forward to embracing this season of Room in the Inn as we serve our brothers in the Nashville community with open eyes and open hearts.

Post Written by Elizabeth Pirani, Volunteer Coordinator

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Most Important Part

Preparing for this year's Room In The Inn season has been both nerve-racking and exhilarating. Not knowing how some things would come together was (and still is) extremely stressful, but seeing all of our hard work and preparation come together for our first night of hosting last Friday was very rewarding. The night did not go off flawlessly by any means--some points were a little frantic--but overall the night was a huge success.

For me (Robert), Friday was filled with Room In The Inn preparations. It seemed like I was either running around campus pulling together a few last minute things, or I was in the Commons clubhouse doing laundry (read: taking a nap while the laundry was in the machines). The laundry got done just in time for me to head to the Sport Science building and start my innkeeper duties for the night. After about fifteen minutes, Torren and I went downtown to pick up our guests. The whole day up to that point had felt super rushed. We hadn't even gotten out of the parking lot before I was bluntly reminded of the reason that I love working with Room In The Inn: the guests.

 I was involved in Room Inn the Inn last year as an innkeeper, so I was really excited when our team accepted this project in the Spring. That excitement has definitely carried over into this Fall as we have been preparing for this season. But now, after thinking about it for a while, I have realized that there was quite a sizable gap between our preparation and the actual experience of running this shelter. Nothing could really have prepared us for the experience of having conversations with the men that we are serving, and that's the most important part of our whole operation. We knew that was the most important part all along, but there is a difference between talking about it and experiencing it that cannot be made up for by any amount of preparation. All of us that were there on Friday night got to talk to the guests over dinner. Anyone familiar with the Room In The Inn program will know that eating a meal together is extremely important to how the program operates. We got to hear some of their stories and talk to them about our lives as well. It was a very edifying conversation. Later, the three of us that spent the night with the guests ended up talking with one of the men (the only one that was still awake) and listening to his story until about 11 o'clock. I think that I can speak for all three of us when I say that one conversation was more rewarding than seeing all of our logistical plans coming together could have ever been.

As we continue to learn what we can do to make things run smoother for our guests this winter, I want to remind ourselves, our volunteers, and anyone else reading this post of what this operation is really about. This is about the homeless men that we meet. They are the most important part. Let us move into this Room In The Inn season remembering that we aren't doing this to serve our consciences or our academic transcripts. We are doing this to serve people.


P.S. As always, if you are interesting in helping out with Belmont's Room In The Inn site, either by volunteering or donating, email us at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And so it begins...

Our first night of hosting is this Friday!!! It is cool to see everything coming together, and we are excited to kick off RITI at Belmont! We already have our volunteers lined up for this Friday, but there are still available slots on Wednesday, November 9 and Friday, November 11. See our Volunteer Calendar to see which spots are still available. We hope to volunteer with you soon!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Communion Meal

Charles Strobel, the founder of Room in the Inn, says that the best way to describe the work of Room in the Inn is a communion meal. He says, "A communion meal is a meal that has sharing and intimacy. It reaches the depths of the soul and the heights of mystery. It is called sacred by people of religion. Unlike God, however, no one ever doubts or needs to prove its existence. A communion meal is experienced the way we experience the sunsets and the mountain tops."

I believe that Room in the Inn serves the same purpose here on Belmont's campus. If you have not had the chance to experience a meal with the homeless, we invite you to join our table! There is nothing like sharing your story at the dinner table and hearing the stories of those around you. You cannot leave unchanged.

If you are interested in coming for dinner one night, email us at There is always room at the table.

You can read more from Charles Strobel here: A Communion Meal.