In an environment so heavily influenced by technology today, how many spaces are designated to spending device-free time with the opportunity to receive advice from adults in the community? Administrator Bobby Asher took initiative in creating “the Den,” a space to interact with grade deans, study, and take a relaxing break from the hyper-technological environment in which we learn.
“The more we can create spaces for adults and kids to be together in a less formal setting, the more likely we are to have a community where people know and trust each other,” Asher said.
For a long time, the administration has searched for a centralized space for this purpose. Whether students use the Den to just curl up with a book or sit down and get advice from a friend, it is an important new addition for this school year.
“The idea that we can have more spaces where students can just be is important, but we know those spaces are limited,” Asher said.
One of the main points driving this change is the lack of organic conversations that don’t feel forced and increase face to face time, Asher said. Asher reminisced about his time in the history department when, while waiting for a ride or sports practice to start, students would “plop down” and engage teachers in meaningful conversations. Asher is joined by excited students, eager to repurpose the old publications office into a casual meeting space.
“I am excited because people can use different spaces to accommodate their studying styles,” junior Sydney Schwalb said.
However, senior Brion Whyte was skeptical about the Den. Whyte said he is worried students who previously used the space won’t have another place to bond and have a safe haven from the chaos of the school day.
“It used to be a casual place for kids to hang out and it feels like a more serious place now,” he said.
On the other hand, Asher wants to make clear that the Den is not an owned space. It is expected that whatever you bring to the Den, you pick up at the end of your time there.
“I would like people to try and get away from the idea of spaces being completely owned by certain groups of people and move towards shared spaces,” he said. “If we have a space in the middle of the building that could be accessed by more people from different places, it seems crazy to not try it.”
By Amelia Myre