Opinion: At Last! Family Style Is Dead

Lily Potter '21, Staff Writer

The following is a student opinion about the recently abolished tradition of family-style, where boarding students spend their Tuesday evenings having a formal meal with their peers.

Loomis Chaffee has finally liberated its students of the time consuming, day-student excluding, overly formal and unnecessary ritual of family-style. No longer will boarders have to spend their Tuesday nights running from sports practices to their dorms rooms to put on blazers, heels, and dresses for the special occasion of eating dinner in the dining hall.

The replacement of the tradition with class dinners is a relief, considering family-style wastes time for no worthwhile cause.

The intended purpose of family-style is to get to know your dorm mates, but in reality, they are people you already live with. A 45-minute dinner, once a week, cannot make that much of a difference.

The overwhelming noise in the dining hall, a result of the entire school’s cohesive presence, means that I can’t hear anyone more than three feet away. The idea of putting people in nice outfits to have proper conversations makes sense, but trying to do so when they cannot hear each other defeats the purpose.

Family-style also takes a disproportionate amount of time out of the eventing. By the time students dress up, get through the dinner itself, and finish taking an inevitable slew of pictures afterwards, almost an hour and a half of their Tuesday night is wasted. For students who have homework or other nightly duties, the required commitment is a significant use of their time.

Then there are the photos themselves… It causes me physical pain to watch people take a copious amount of pictures in their outfits, then see endless social media posts creatively captioned “FamSty!!” later in the evening, as I am well aware of their Chemistry or Precalculus tests the next morning.

When I attended Family style, I felt like the event was exclusionary towards day students like myself. While all the boarders put on their formal attire and sit together, day students are relegated to a dinner of isolation in the student center, unable to join their peers. In hindsight, family-style was contradictory towards Loomis’ claim to not have a day student/boarding student divide.