The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Boarders No Longer Have Res-Life Dinners. But at what Cost?

Credit: Williston Instagram

Residential life dinners no longer exist. Problem solved or problem created?

In previous years, faculty and the boarding student population would gather together in the Birch Dining Commons the first Blue Friday of every month, excluding winter, to have a formal sit-down, family style dinner.

It was a chance to dress up and take pictures with your friends, as well as to spend a few hours eating dinner at a table with people you didn’t usually converse with, breaking up otherwise consistent busy dinner schedules.

Starting the 2023-2024 school year, Residential Life dinners—Res-Life, for short—were called off, completely disappearing from the school’s schedule. While the idea to call them off was originally an attempt to close the gap between day and boarding students, some believe it has quickly turned into a lost opportunity for boarding students to dress up and eat good food with the people they share a home for most of their high school lives.

Sadie Dripps, a sophomore day student from South Hadley, Mass., appreciates the sentiment behind cancelling Res-Life dinners, but recognizes the drawbacks that doing so poses for the boarding community.

“I did feel a little left out, but since I had other day student friends it wasn’t awful,” Saidie said. “I like [not having Res-Life dinners] to some extent. I think it’s nice to not have us be left out of a community event, but I think there were other ways to fix it.”

Going into my second year as a boarding student, I was excited for the dinners, as they were a major highlight of my first year at Williston. The idea behind them was a selling point to prospective boarding students; they helped to capture Williston’s strong emphasis on community.

Wendy Staples, a Visual and Performing Arts teacher who has been teaching and living on campus for five years, admitted that while she didn’t love the dinners, she misses what they stood for.

“Although I don’t miss the rush and stress of the actual dinners, I do believe there is an aspect of community the dinners brought that is lost within the community this year,” Staples told The Willistonian. “There were a lot of with the dinners but were ways to fix them [besides] not having them at all.”

Katherine Garrity, Associate Dean of Students who lives on campus and attended Res-Life dinners in the past, understands the feeling of loss within the boarding community, but doesn’t believe the dinners will make a return.

“Although they stood for something good, we needed something new,” Garrity said. “There were just too many issues for the faculty and staff involved.”

After a quick survey done in Memorial Hall East, it was found most of those living in the dorm miss the dinners and wish they were still active.

The school still advertises a formal community every trimester on its official website.

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