Smaller Blocking Groups Encourage Stress, Strain Friendships

Dean Lewis says that change will increase diversity in Houses

The last first-year students handed in their blocking group forms in the basement of the Science Center yesterday in an annual tradition that often marks the end of weeks or months of anxiety and uncertainty.

But this year, when first-years began thinking about who they would block with, one thing was certain: far fewer choices would be available to them than had been to past students, and the spots in their blocking groups would be far more precious.

Previously, first-year students were allowed a maximum of 16 students in their blocking groups, but this year there were no more than eight names on the blue forms that students submitted to indicate their decisions.


Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 says that for the vast majority of first-years, fashioning a blocking group of eight or fewer students was probably little more difficult than putting together a group of 16.

He is confident, he says, that eight is enough, and that the majority of students will be able to piece together cohesive, albeit smaller, groups of friends.

"When people say 'Oh, I have all these friends and it's really important that we be together,' there is some skepticism as to whether that is the case," he says.

But in interviews with The Crimson, many students expressed frustration about the blocking process and the new size restrictions in particular. The switch from 16 to eight, they say, comes at a price.

John, a first-year, says his blocking situation would have been fine if his group had had just one more slot.

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