When you arrive at Olney Friends School, it may be your first experience living in a dormitory and away from home. Olney has two dormitories, the Guindon and the Mott. While we do not have locks on our dorms, only the residents of those dorms and their Dorm Heads are allowed to enter.  Our Dorm Heads—assigned faculty members that live on campus— supervise students and a staff dorm sponsor sleeps in the dormitory each night.

Dorm leadership also falls to student dorm staff, which is usually comprised of four to six students who serve as liaisons between the student dorm community and the adult dorm staff. Each student dorm staff member has one weekly duty night, where he or she is responsible for checking room cleanliness during the day, and checking students into the dorm in the evening. It is a tradition for the student dorm staff to circulate around the dorm at lights out and wishes everyone a goodnight before the adults do a final evening round.

 Student dorm staff serve as role models and fill many roles; generally, they take their positions seriously. They may act as mediators when conflicts arise, help plan activities, and teach dorm traditions and procedures. They also plan weekend activities which may include telling ghost stories by a bonfire, playing whole school games like “Bring it Back Alive” or “Star Trek,” or movie nights and slumber parties in the dorm parlors. The weekend activities bring students together over shared interests and empower the students because they take ownership of the planning and implementation of the activity.


After a very structured school week, weekends are a time to relax, catch up on sleep, socialize, go into town for a run to Dollar General or a meal at McDonald’s, take a long walk through the fields of the Back Two, work on more in-depth homework projects, and reconnect with friends and family back home.

In addition, each weekend has some activities designed to unite the Olney community. Sunday lunches often feature traditional “Sunday dinner” menus. Think: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and ice cream for dessert. On Sunday evenings, the girls and boys dorm communities gather after study hall for meetings for worship and parlor meetings.

Some weekends, all students are required to be on campus. Other weekends, students may travel home or elsewhere with their parents’ permission and in the care of an adult.

Large all-school weekends include:

  • Two bonding/camping weekends in late August and early September
  • Parents Weekend/Pumpkin Festival in late September
  • Homecoming in October
  • Room Change Weekend in January
  • Senior Social and Commencement Weekends in late May and early June.

Most weekends are less jam-packed than this!, but they still include all-community events. There is typically one mandatory activity each weekend – a speaker, a performance, or a student-planned event such as a dance, a haunted house, a specially-prepared meal for Chinese New Year, or a game of Capture the Flag, to name just a few recent examples. Students meet in advisory groups with their academic advisors to plan some of these activities each spring.