Connective restriction in the Westtown Community

Nyala Tolfree 23'

There are fewer open dorms, lounges, and other ways to socialize as a community at Westtown compared to 2019. Now, dorms are the most common social place, but these spaces are not accessible to everyone. This lack of communal space is creating rifts in the Westtown community.

Recently, the Uptown Lounge opened up as a study space but students only view it as an extension of their academic space. Students call it “basically a second library” and a “forgotten possibility” due to it often being locked and out of the way. The former East-End Lounge had an air hockey table, couches, and places to eat. It has since been turned into a classroom. Across the Westtown community, students voice the disconnect caused between day students and borders.  Bordering student Amelia Eager 23’ describes her relationship with day students saying, “day students sit in their cars during free time because they have nowhere to go, other than lunch I don’t really see my day student friends. If they are not eating or in-class…they are not here.” Day student Prefect Noah Fisher 23’ commented on his personal experience saying, “I often spend most of my time in the library, as there isn’t really anywhere else I can go”.

 This divisiveness is compromising mixed-gender relationships as well. West End student Amelia Eager takes note of her experience expressing, “I have a lot of guy friends, but we lost a lot of closeness unless we hang out outside of school other than lunch.” An East End day student leader shares a similar experience saying, “I’ll often go up on dorm with my border friends, but I only get to see my friends who live on East End”. There has been only one Open Dorm all year. An abundance of boarding students concur that a connection between E2 and W2 residents is crucial to Westtown culture. One anonymous student describes the repercussions of gendered community divisiveness on different-sex relationships stating, “It enforces hook up culture at Westtown. This segregation of sex at Westtown implies sexual intention which only further enforces sexually exclusive relationships. Friendships are what is being hurt by these policies not sexual relationships”.