Hierarchy in Rosen
Rosen was never meant to be solely for upperclassmen, but as the Stevenson student body outgrows the building, the underclassmen have been pushed out. As the community grows and changes, different spaces have been modified to fit different needs.
The truth of the situation is that the Stevenson community is running out of space to fit all of the students comfortably. During open community times and extra help, Rosen barely fits the junior and senior day students and forces most boarders to return to their rooms.
Additionally, many spaces that had been used before the hybrid year have been forgotten. “We are trying to reestablish those places. We are seeing more kids using the front of Reid, which is good” Dr. Griffiths explains. The cafeteria has not been open to students outside of the lunch periods until this year, leaving many to be unaware of its existence as an open space. However, many do not see the appeal; Sophomore Gina Da Silva explains simply, “I feel like it's really not the best place to hang out.”
During the hybrid year, the Learning Commons was used synonymously with Rosen but for freshies and sophomores, much to the pain of librarian Heather Bagley-Rowe. This year, they made the small, but ever impactful, change to limit phone usage in the Learning Commons. This change turned the Learning Commons back into a study space but caused the underclassmen to lose their “Rosen.”
These students have had to move to new spaces on the Stevenson campus. Students value the spaces that they have found and have made them their own. Many attribute their friend group and community to the space they spend socializing. Two sophomore girls refused to disclose their hang out spot because “we don’t want anyone else going in there.”
While other socialization spaces are inconvenient due to cold, inability to find a spot, or discomfort, many students still see the importance of Rosen being for upperclassmen. Freshies and sophomores see it as a privilege that they can gain, and juniors and seniors value their earned, exclusive space. A junior, Mia Schlenker, explains her feelings: “It is kind of a right of passage for underclassmen to spend their due time in places like the learning commons.”
While most students do not see the separation as a problem, many staff are concerned about the hierarchy and power dynamic it imposes on the lower grades. Dale Hinckley, a Stevenson teacher of 42 years, comments on the history of the Rosen Student Center,
“I think it comes from past senior classes that were a little bit unaccommodating to underclassmen. There is no motive to have upperclassmen only have access to the student center. It's called the student center, not the upperclass center.”
Many underclassmen are scared to even step foot in rosen. Sophomore Emmerson Ferriera describes her opinion: “In Rosen, it should only be for upperclassmen, but we should be able to walk through it.”
Harrison Wilmont, a junior, proposes a compromise: “Maybe the two sides, like the couches could be for upperclassmen but the front area or mingling about –I don't think there needs to be as strict of a hierarchy there.”
Rosen was never meant to be exclusionary. The online and hybrid years changed the dynamics within socialization spaces. The quiet environment of the Learning Commons was disrupted and the hierarchy of Rosen was strengthened. As the cycle of upperclassmen intimidating the lower grades will continue in perpetual motion, the only solution is to give the underclassmen their own space.