Over the past few years, students have complained about the strict dress code regulation that discouraged them from participating in spirit week. From the three spirit weeks we had in the past two years, 9 out of 15 days’ total are students required to be in dress code. While other boarding schools such as Choate and Lawrenceville allow their students to wear jeans as class day attire, Loomis does not permit such attire even for spirit week. Should we have any regulations at all for spirit week if students cannot “be in spirit” because their clothes remain out violate the dress code?
Mike Donegan, dean of student activities, says that the reason behind having dress code on spirit week is because Loomis is trying to provide a good experience for touring families, and the deans would prefer students to “look good” during school days. Mr. Donegan expressed the simple notion behind such regulation, “if you want to feel good, you should first start looking good.” However, as more and more students requested a more relaxed dress code for spirit week, the school began to find ways to balance between “enjoying a special week” and “looking good”. The most recent spirit week, for example, had only one dress-code day, whereas the one in September this year had three, and the one in November 2015 had all five days. “Loomis’s dress code is pretty lenient compared to Avon’s. Everyone is required to wear suits and ties everyday. That’s what you call strict,” says Mr. Donegan, “if students are not happy about the dress code, they should talk to their Student Council representatives; but most students seem to be okay with the current policies.”
Amaiya Parker ‘18, a member on the Student Council Spirit Week Committee, strongly opposes the idea of having class dress code during spirit week, “People should be out of dress code if we want everyone to build up spirit; they don’t want to get a Saturday night study hall because they were dressing for spirit, but they don’t want to just [purposely] buy something for spirit either.” The student council has been working on reducing dress-code days during spirit week in recent years. Generally speaking, Loomis is becoming more lenient, allowing attire such as sweatpants and hoodies for spirit week, although the overall regulation still appears to be a little strict. Leggings and jeans should be permitted on spirit week as long as they appear neat and appropriate. “More people will definitely participate if the rules are bent more,” says Amaiya.
Opinions on whether we should have dress code or not during spirit week varied across campus. Alexa Valadez ’20 said, “I think we should have dress code just to keep things in check, but I like the idea of having a theme for each day and being able to dress up funny.” Esther Wang ’18, a prefect residing in Carter hall, feels that the school should have some dress code on spirit week. “I think we definitely should have a dress code, or else some people might dress too inappropriately,” she states. Sherly Quezeda ’19 also agreed that we should have dress code on spirit week. However, Lily Verna ’19 feels that we shouldn’t have dress code for spirit week.“I think that during spirit week, all types of clothing should be allowed as long as they are reasonably appropriate. For example, jeans and leggings should definitely be permitted” she said.
Dressing smart certainly builds a good image for Loomis and leaves nice impressions for touring families, but the deans should definitely find a compromise and balance between the dress code and the joy of showing school spirit when students fail to participate in spirit week due to the strict regulations.