The Meme Wall as a Voice of Change

The Meme Wall as a Voice of Change

What do photos of Drake, Ziggy Bereday’s latest haircut fiasco, and characters from The Office have in common? At Groton School, they are all voices of change. Among the Groton Meme Wall, featuring a collection of pop culture references characterizing the iconic habits and characters defining the Groton experience, there is a hidden message we can learn about our role as Grotonians. The power of the Meme Wall lies in its innate purpose: to be an outlet for unfiltered student criticism of Groton’s norms and policies with minimal backlash. And it is our duty as students to use this wall as the democratic outlet it is, and Groton faculty’s duty to honor that role with the implementation of a year-round Meme Wall.

The community-fostering and spirit-raising nature of the Meme Wall isn’t hard to observe.

Amelia Barnum ‘24, former Hamlin’s dorm meme creator, said, “It’s kind of like a fun little form of protest but also comedic relief for the stress of Groton.”

Following this statement, Barnum added, “I mean, I don’t know if it’s really that deep. Memes are memes.” 

While at first I heeded this as a seemingly pejorative afterthought, I realized this statement actually captured the innate beauty of a Meme Wall. Stripped of the pressures of eloquence, depth, or pretense, memes are an outlet for students to express their discomforts with the school in a hilariously simple manner everyone can consider.

It is no secret to anyone who has attempted to change a school rule or norm through a Circle Voice article, D&I workshop, or any form of intrascholastic “peaceful protest,” that student-driven change at Groton is quite hard to come by. For instance, a number of ingenious reforms have been presented through Circle Voice articles, such as to implement a student council (Joon Whang ‘23), to reform senior prefect elections (Beatrice Agbi ‘21), and to abolish intervis restrictions (Abby Kirk ‘19). And yet, none of these have been adopted.

The aforementioned platforms have their obvious shortcomings – be it the lack of anonymity, lack of student interest, or simply an innate disadvantage of voicing an opinion that falls in the Groton minority. 

However, we can tackle all of these issues if Groton administration not only implements, but pays close attention to, a year-round installation of the Meme Wall. 

Addressing the aforementioned shortcomings, the Meme Wall is simultaneously anonymous and gathers interest from the majority of the student body. And most importantly, its existence as a collective represents the community rather than a single individual. In the Meme Wall, we will notice a vast number of dorms coming together to create memes that ultimately convey the same message – be it about intervis policies, COVID restrictions, or unfair workloads.

Seeing rows upon rows of memes, each sporting a different pop culture reference yet unified by a singular message of protest, should be enough to indicate to Groton faculty that there is a community consensus regarding the school norms criticized by The Wall that demands to be pursued.

At Groton, the Meme Wall is not just a place of jokes or levity, but a beacon of democracy. It is imperative that Groton faculty study the Meme Wall and let these memes fuel the discussions of Groton’s future.

Should the Meme Wall be Kept Year Round?


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