Why we ask you to refrain from using electronic devices in Hall

One of the things that makes Cambridge special is that Colleges bring together people from a very wide range of academic backgrounds and cultures. 

If you were studying at another university (apart from Oxford) you would largely meet only people who were in the same school or department. Wolfson is extra-special because it doesn't have a High Table which separates Fellows from students: here we all eat together. And we have a custom that if you sit next to someone in Hall then you talk to them, and they respond. The dining table thus provides a neutral social space in which people meet and interact as equals. Nowhere else in the world will you have an opportunity easily to converse with such a range of colleagues and contemporaries.

Conversation is therefore a central part of our collegiate ethos. The reason we ask you to refrain from using electronic devices at all meals except breakfast is not because we wish to be killjoys, but because we want to preserve something very precious to our collegiate life – the ability to share ideas as equals, and to get to know one another better. We are trying, in other words, to protect the thing that makes this place special and prevent it becoming just another coffee shop.

Please respect this principle. Talk, don’t text.