Opinion: There is a Right Way to Walk Across Campus


[Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire Willistonian staff.]
Whether you’re walking to class, going to grab lunch at the Stu-Bop, or walking to practice at Galbraith, Williston students are always making strides across campus.
Especially during peak times, the main quad often gets crowded with foot traffic. This experience, although mundane and thoughtless to most, can become incredibly frustrating when walkers fail to follow proper etiquette when trying to get from one place to another.
When learning how to drive, one of the first things people are taught is what side of the road to drive on, and walking on pathways or sidewalks is no different. Especially during times of heavy foot traffic, passing on the right is the standard and polite thing to do. Although this seems to be a very straightforward thing, many Williston students struggle with it.
Most sidewalks accommodate three people walking side by side. When trying to catch up with friends, people often get distracted and don’t consider the fact that other people have places to be. It is very easy to get caught up in conversation with friends, although I plead to you, fellow Williston students: start being more aware.
Sidewalk etiquette problems arise when students become unaware of what is going on around them. This causes others to be forced to walk on the grass or maneuver their way around large groups.
Junior Maisie Mattocks finds this inconsiderate.
“I hate when I am walking to class or to the dining hall and a group of people are walking in my direction,” Maisie, from Shutesbury, Mass., said. “They often are taking up the entire sidewalk and so preoccupied with their conversation that they do not even move over.”
“At the end of the day, having to walk on the grass for a few seconds is not the biggest deal, it’s more the principle of just being aware and considerate to other people,” Maisie added.
Additionally, many students like to amble at a speed that is unbearable to others, causing them to have to pass awkwardly.
Williston has a total of 503 students on campus on a given day; 432 of these students are in the upper school while 71 are in the middle school. Although the middle school has its own building across the street from the main quad, during the lunch block, and more specifically first lunch, is when the most people are walking around campus.
Kaitlyn Williams, a senior boarder from the Bahamas, often gets stressed when walking behind slow people on the way to class.
“It’s really inconsiderate when people walk extremely slowly, we have classes and places to be,” she said. “I feel bad when I need to pass them, but at a certain point I am not going to be late to class just because someone is holding me up.”
It makes sense that people walk at their own speed, although going back to when learning how to drive, many learn about the dangers of going too fast or too slow. When you are walking at a speed that is exceptionally slow and you begin to realize people are passing you regularly or getting frustrated walking behind you, this is when you should ask yourself, How can I be more respectful to the people around me?
This is the same for people that find themselves consistently needing to run to class. Why does this happen? Are you not leaving early enough? Is this due to bad planning on your part?
Williston students are given 10 minutes between classes; that’s plenty of time to get from one side of campus to another. Many students use this time to catch up with friends, which is totally fine. Unless you choose to do this in a group. In the middle of the sidewalk.
This is not to say that sometimes you are going to get to class late or have off days where you are just running behind, but problems around campus arise when these become consistent, everyday things. No one should be running to class.
One last thing that Williston students should be more aware of is walking through the correct doors. The Schoolhouse, arguably one of the busiest buildings on campus, has a main entrance that includes two doors. When entering the building, please use the door on the right side. Same for when you leave: door on the right.
Not following simple unwritten rules like these make it challenging for everyone on this campus to function symbiotically.
David Koritkoski, Williston’s Dean of Students, knows even the smallest changes can make a big difference. He proposed all students start with being more aware in the dining commons.
“It would be nice if we all committed to entering and exiting the dining hall while also paying attention to traffic flow,” he explained. “Do not enter and exit through the same door.”