VWS dorm councilors will now be known as “prefects”


Tara Helou ('19)

Leadership title, VWS dorm councilor, changes to prefects.

Hold onto your hats people! Breaking news at The Webb Schools: for the first time in history, VWS dorm councilors will now be known as “prefects.” On January 31st, a proposal was sent to Dean Lantz to change the leadership title. On February 4th, it was approved. This change will align the leadership names across VWS and WSC Dorm Councils, as well as remove any confusion about the role of a VWS dorm leader.  

The Dorm Council was made up of the prefects, dorm councilors, and the day student prefects. WSC members of the Dorm Council are referred to as prefects while VWS members were referred to as dorm councilors. Students who are participating in the same leadership role will now have the same title.

Initially, the VWS Dorm Council did not have a clear understanding of why VWS dorm leaders are called “dorm councilors” rather than “prefects” and there were issues with this confusion. There is also a sense of professionalism associated with the title “prefect.”

The term “dorm councilor” was often confused with “dorm counselor.” Michael Szanyi, Head of the VWS Dorm Council, said “This meaning suggests that student leaders are required to counsel dorm residents. While student leaders do give advice to residents, the connotation of the word gives a false sense of what the student leaders in the dorm are doing. Counseling implies that student leaders are doing something that they are not certified or qualified to do.”

Kris Smith-Reichartz (‘19), WSC head of new students, said, “I personally like the name ‘prefects’ more than ‘dorm councilors.’ I don’t know if there is really any difference between WSC and VWS leadership roles, other than dealing with different genders. We all follow the same set of school rules.”

Linda Wu (‘19), chair of the VWS dorm prefects, said, “While the responsibilities listed under each group are very similar, I think the way DCs and prefects interact with their residents differ. Speaking as a DC, I’ve noticed that we have and underlying role as emotional supporters to our residents as well. However, I am in support of changing the name of DC to prefect since I want to make the leadership group name consistent with WSC prefects as well as day student prefects. This will help us come together as a single leadership group dedicated to serving the student community here.”

As the student handbook states, student leaders in the dorm “foster a sense of community within the dorms, plan, and implement dorm-related activities, perform nightly checks, implement residential policies, and dorm clean-up and beautification activities.” This mission applies to both VWS and WSC dorm leaders.

Lydia Toy (‘20), a North Hutch dorm prefect, said, “It’s kind of confusing how fast this change occurred. We had an opportunity to let them know how we felt, but I never really thought it would happen. I think it will bring more equality to Webb regarding the two separate schools. However, we will definitely have to get used to it.”

With the three groups on campus that constitute the Dorm Council now under the same title, there is a new and exciting sense of unity among campus.