Leadership in focus: Day Student Prefects

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Ken Rosenfeld

Navigating the variety of new features in the Hooper community center, including mobile furniture, will require guidance from Webb’s day student prefects!

Once upon a time in a far-away place, it is a regular Tuesday night at Webb. You needed to do your homework but were so unmotivated to do it, so you thought to yourself, Maybe if I go to the library and sit with my friends, they will force me to be productive…” So, you pack up your things and head down the hill from your dorm. You walk in through the Fawcett Library doors and hear someone call,Don’t forget to sign in!” You head over to the circulation desk, sign your name and the hour, all while answering the question “How are you?” with “I’m fine. I just have too much work.” “Don’t we all?” said the day student prefect on duty.  

Around 8:50 p.m., your friends say “We should head back,” so, you pack up your things once more, and head over to the circulation desk. While signing out, the DSP asks, “Did you get you work done?” You realize that “No, I didn’t. And I never do when I come to the library. Why did I come all the way down the hill and not make any progress?” “To see me of course,” said the DSP, and you smile as you head out, thankful that the DSP had lifted your post-procrastination spirits.  

DSPs have the unique position of occupying the library every school night,” said Jenna Hawkes (‘21), head day student prefect. “This means we see it all – sophomores breaking down because of a dreadful IPC project, seniors getting both accepted and denied from colleges, freshmen making lifelong friends, juniors experiencing their first bout of existential dread, etc. Even in turbulent times you know your DSP will be there, and I love connected with the wider community and making new friends at every shift!” 

Day student prefects are one of Webb’s major leadership roles available to students. Just like dorm prefects, day student prefects are a support system for Webb’s day student community; they host campus-wide events and help to maintain comfortable and friendly environments in communal spaces 

To name a few of the things DSPs are responsible for on campus, they staff the library desk during study hours on weekdays, keeping track of all the students who filter in and out, and they plan drive-in movies on Chandler and Alamo lawn where Ms. Jeantete brings out the beloved popcorn machine. They also host a campus-wide game of assassin, one of Webb’s highly spirited events.  

But ever since August of 2019, the DSPs have been without what was essentially the day students’ dorm on campus: Hooper. The old Hooper Student Center was where day students had their cubbies to deposit the mountain of gear we use on a daily basis at Webb. From textbooks to sports gear to theme week costumes, Hooper was the place for it all. Naturally, the DSPs are very excited to begin making the newly named and renovated Hooper Community Center back into a homey space for the community to share.  

“Hooper welcomes everyone, but it is certainly going to be managed by the DSPs,” said Ken Rosenfeld, Dean of Campus Life.One of the best things about Hooper is all of the furniture is extremely flexible and mobile. Throughout the day the look and the feel of Hooper is going to change according to who is in here and what they are doing. But we also want to make sure that Hooper is being taken care of properly, so multiple times during the day, we are going to have a ‘hooper reset where all the furniture will go back to the way that we originally had it to make sure it doesn’t just look like a big mess. 

Hooper is also going to have lots of stuff in it that is new to the rest of the community, and we will need to learn how to use it. This includes the “mobile” furniture, mail pick-up, storage for day students’ gear, and a brand-new meeting room available for students to use.   

“There is going to be a learning curve, not just how to use the technology, but also on what the respectful and responsible way is to use the technology as part of a larger group within the space,” Mr. Rosenfeld said. “The DSPs are going to be pivotal in that education.” 

Because of the learning curve, the odds of their being an orientation component to the new Hooper Community Center are very likely.  

“We are going to need to have a Hooper orientation experience,” Mr. Rosenfeld said. “We are going to be having a more formal orientation to Hooper for those who are going to be doing the study groups. My guess is that I will be playing a pretty significant role in it, but the way I envision it is the DSPs will be right there with me, both in the creation of the Hooper orientation experience and also in the execution of it.” 

But, as mentioned earlier, the DSPs do a lot more than just organize Hooper. Some of the senior DSPs noted their favorite parts of being a DSP.  

“Movie nights were my favorite events to hold as a DSP,” Alice Phung (‘21) said. “Last year, for the Halloween Drive-in Movie Night of ‘The Shining’, the DSPs cut faces on pumpkins to decorate the snack tables, full of candies and drinks. I particularly enjoyed working the popcorn machine, where I had the chance to talk to two freshmen. We found that we all loved Hamilton and jammed out to the soundtrack as I shoveled popcorn into paper bags! Library duty also holds similar experiences, as I first met some of current closest friends by simply sitting behind the library counter, making rounds, and nagging people to sign in and out. Gaining opportunities to talk to people I likely never would’ve gotten to know is at the heart of why I love being a day student prefect.” 

My favorite thing as a DSP is getting the early access to the new Hooper Community Center and being able to interview others about getting hyped about coming back to campus,” Jake Biaz (‘21) said. 

Day student prefects are a vital leadership role on Webb’s campus, and their role in the new Hooper Community Center will be an exciting opportunity for the rest of campus to connect with them!