September 9, 2022 at 10:00:00 PM
Maria Akaras '24
At the end of the previous school year, Mercersburg’s Office of Student Life created a committee with the intention of reviewing and updating the school’s interdorm visitation policy. I always appreciate it when an institution tries to improve its policies, so I was excited to see the outcomes from the committee.
During early prefect training, Mr. Weibley reviewed the Blue Book with the group. He announced the official changes to the interdorm visitation policy. What stood out the most was a new policy that prevents students from fobbing in to any dorm other than their own. According to the Blue Book, “Anytime a student visits a dorm in which they are not assigned, they are expected to be met at the door by their host (student who lives in the visited dorm) and should tap into the dorm…The host student is expected to stay with the visiting student for the entirety of their visit.”
In the past, I have loved the ability to go freely from my dorm room in Fowle to South or Swank to visit my friends. Although I can still do this, there is now much more planning required to visit other dorms and much more planning involved in socializing.
As an upperclassman serving as a prefect in Fowle, an underclass dorm, I was nervous about feeling separated from the rest of my grade. The majority of my friends live with most of our grade in South and Swank. The school created this policy with the intention of keeping students comfortable in their dorms, but it has instead left me isolated from my class, made it more difficult to hang out with my friends, and prevented me from meeting the new students in my grade.
I do genuinely believe that the school has good intentions in making this policy change; I just do not believe they have thought through the impact that it would have on different groups of students in different dorms. When questions and concerns were raised about the policy, we were assured that it should not be a problem; if you are visiting another dorm, whoever you are visiting should be willing to bring you in. While this is somewhat true, there have already been several instances in my first two weeks of school when I would have loved to be able to go to South or Swank by myself, and just knock on my friends’ doors to hang out with them.
I believe that a potential solution to this problem would be to have dedicated times, such as the school day or weekends, during which fobs would work on the other dorms identified by the same sex. Additionally, I think that it should be a prefect privilege for fobs to work for other dorms. Such solutions would help bridge the separation and isolation from the rest of the class that many prefects feel.