Dorm prefects prepare for the next school year

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Laura Caldwell (‘21)

The Webb dorms have hosted no boarders in over a year, but the dorm prefects are excited to welcome students back when possible!

The Webb dorms have been empty since students left campus in March 2020. Without the dorms to manage, the prefects hosted a variety of online activities and supports, including Welcome Back Weekend and a holiday toy drive.  

As students begin to look forward to next year, many wonder what will change in the dorms and with the work of the dorm prefects. 

Any sophomores (class of 2023) who are applying to be dorm prefects for the 2021-2022 school year have only lived on campus for just over a semester. For many, this may seem daunting. 

How will students who have barely lived on campus themselves be able to help others adjust to the experience?  

Michael Szanyi, Head of VWS dorms, believes that this will be a challenge and an opportunity. 

“There is the practical aspect of making sure everyone knows the rules and expectations and feels comfortable working in that space,” Mr. Szanyi said. “However, the more exciting part is that the prefect role has always been about community connections and support.  

That aspect of the job will be amplified even more so,” Mr. Szani said. On top of that, this is an opportunity for us to shape and re-shape the culture we have on campus and in the dorms. So, new prefects will have a stake in what values and practices we believe in and the ways in which we will enact those values and practices.” 

I think that they have to really involve themselves completely into the prefect position, and we made sure when selecting the prefects that we saw this type of dedication and work ethic, and have complete faith in the upcoming juniors, because they were able to see and experience the main intro to dorm life in their freshmen year, said Jackson Malicay21, co-chair of the Dorm Council.  

To ensure that the application was as easy and comprehensive as possible, the dorm council adjusted the process. 

We streamlined the process a lot,” Mr. Szanyi said. “We made it one application with a creative component to hopefully get to know the candidate a little more, a written component to learn more about their thoughts on communal living and leadership, and a video component where they shared their thoughts and ideas on the nature of support. This gave us so much information that we didn’t really need to do anything beyond that because all the applicants were so thorough in addressing these areas.” 

“The process relied heavily on the seniors thoughts because we have experience as prefects and know the pool of applicants well,” Jackson said 

Next year, prefects will have two grades worth of new boarders to welcome to Webb. The incoming freshman (class of 2025) and the current freshman (class of 2024) boarders will all be living in the dorms for the first time.  

While there are no official plans in place for next year, the dorm prefects are confident that the Webb dorms will be just as welcoming as ever. 

We need to think about what we value in a community living space, and then we need to think about the activities and practices that will help support that,” Mr. Szanyi said. “We’ll also just need to be patient with each other, while still holding each other accountable. I’m super excited to see what the new dorm council dreams up! 

Though the structure of the dorms may be different when Webb returns to in-person learning, the prefects will ensure that they are as welcoming and comfortable as ever.