Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript of a conversation that I had with Ryan Alexander about the Woodberry cup. Alexander will replace Henry Heil as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life next fall. As Alexander has yet to fully assume the new role, some of his answers are not as specific as he would have liked them to be. The future of the Cup will be more certain by August of this year. Parts of this transcript have been edited or omitted for the sake of clarity.
Interviewer: Jack Stone ’18
Interviewee: Ryan Alexander
Date of Interview: May 19th, 2017
Interview Topic: The Woodberry Cup
Jack Stone: So, my first question is: What does the future of the Woodberry Cup look like at this stage?
Ryan Alexander: I can’t answer that as specifically as I would like, and certainly as you would want me to. I know that the school and the administration are thinking strategically about what [the Woodberry Cup] is doing, and what it’s achieving now. [They’re] asking: is it meeting the goals that we set out for it to achieve? So that’s the question that’s being asked and answered. For what it’s worth, [the Cup] is not mine yet as I’m still doing some transitioning this spring—Mr. Heil’s still the point man for this.
Stone: Right, of course. What do you think some of the Cup’s successes are?
Alexander: At its best, the Woodberry Cup gives a break in the weekly routine here. Maybe you’ll agree with me that sometimes the weeks are long and repetitive so this can be helpful in that regard. We had a scheduling consultant come in a number of years ago who spoke about rallying points, and that’s something that I think the Woodberry Cup has done. It’s also provided some decent leadership opportunities for a couple of seniors, with the 8 senior captains, and the commissioner.
Stone: What do you think some of its failures have been if any?
Alexander: Well, I don’t know if I’m ready to say failures, but there are things that I think the Cup can do better. One of the primary goals was getting upperclassmen connected to underclassmen and I don’t think that has happened as much as we would’ve hoped for.
Stone: Right, and that was my next question. Many students feel that the cup has good intentions but has generally failed to accomplish its goals like unifying all the classes. Would you agree with that sentiment?
Alexander: Yeah, I don’t think that it’s unified them to the extent that we’d hoped it would. I think that’s fair.
Stone: Do you have any ideas of your own that you plan to implement next year?
Alexander: I have ideas, but I need to wait and see what it’s going to look like. Like how many resources we’re going to devote to it in terms of time and people. Then we’ll create a plan [from there]. I certainly have some ideas about ways to build those communities. [With] the eight teams, there are ways to build them and make the group feeling more unified. I think there are some ways that we can do that better, but I don’t want to answer that question yet until I know exactly what we’re doing.
Stone: Of course, that’s understandable. Lastly, do you have anything you’d like to add about the Woodberry Cup or anything about starting in your new role next year?
Alexander: I don’t think there’s much more to say about the Woodberry Cup at this point. But, I’m really excited about the job. Strategic focus is at the heart of what I really care about in education, like taking care of the boys’ physical space but making sure they’re also emotionally and socially healthy. Of course, there are parts about the job that make me nervous, but I’m generally really excited about the job. […] I don’t foresee any big changes or shifts from what Mr. Heil was doing. I think I need to get into the position first and learn more about it before I would try to make any bigger shifts in terms of the position’s focus or its objectives.
Stone: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Alexander: Of course, thank you.