Minutes 1/30-2/2/11

The Residential Curriculum Committee came to us with a proposal to institute regulated hall feeds and discussions as a means of making dorm life more consistent. Council’s response, based in part on feedback from other students:

While we understand the rationale behind weekly feeds, we agreed unanimously that we’ve had our most stimulating dorm conversations when a feed was provided but conversation just flowed freely. We think that mandatory feed conversations a) would be resented in upperclassman dorms in particular & b) add a formal late-night obligation to the schedules of already-overextended students. In comparing our hall bullying talks and MLK Day group experiences, which we thought roughly equivalent to these proposed discussions, we agreed that commitment/ability to lead would vary widely among those leading the discussions and therefore not achieve the idea of consistency to begin with. Our underclassman reps pointed out the redundancy with freshman groups & health class as well.

Those were our dominant impressions, corroborated widely among the student body, but we did like these ideas:

  • For the sake of consistency, we absolutely agree that it should be required for every hall to have one feed/week. As long as this is in place and all are welcome, students will gather to discuss campus culture, relevant issues, or just the casual banter that makes boarders feel a part of the community here.
  • We support the idea of dual faculty Residential heads in a resource capacity, though again not in an enforcing role
  • We also support encouraging service projects and inter-dorm activities
  • Instead of giving peer counselors dorm preference and have them as hall leaders, we like the “hall advocate” model (proposed last year by a number of campus groups): one elected by each upperclassman corridor among themselves while signing up for rooms with their new hall resident in the spring prior. This would spread leadership positions also.

I think our honest feedback is that we don’t see anything “broken” in the system as it currently is; we think dorm experience could be improved by the above points, but necessitating conversation (even with the best intentions) stifles natural discourse.

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