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Commons Congestion

Gilmour Academy Commons

A group of students from the same C-block class walk into the Commons after being let out of class at exactly the beginning of lunch. They get a tray, silverware, and food but are stopped by the busy-ness of the Commons and begin searching for a place to sit.

They realize there is no place for all of them to sit. All the tables are filled.So they decide to try the Lennon Boardroom to find a place to eat. It is locked.

They decide to find a table in the hall by the Chapel and pull up a few chairs so they can sit down and eat their lunch.

They were unaware that what they did was not acceptable and that they should have found seats in the Commons because supposedly there were enough for everyone, but maybe not enough for their whole group of friends.

Every day when students begin to feel the grumble in their stomachs, they think “lunch,” but when they run to the Commons and are faced with this same situation or one similar to it, that can be a problem.

Tricia King (`10) says, “I run to lunch every day just to make sure I can get a seat.”

There are many factors to the “Commons Congestion” and one aspect of this problem is when faculty members that are not assigned to any specific lunch period all decide to go to the same one. It can cause imbalance in the seat to people ratio.

This can be a problem, especially when only two or three faculty members sit at an upper round table when the tables can easily seat five or six people. Right there, two or three possible seats are thrown away.

Instructor of Social Studies Mr. Katz on the other hand does not see teachers and faculty sitting at other tables as a problem. “There really is no assigned teacher table and teachers are able to sit wherever they want,” says Mr. Katz. “Likewise students are welcome to sit at the teacher table anytime.”

Another factor of “Commons Congestion” could be because of the upperclassmen who have C-block free. Dean of Student Life and Discipline, Mr. Teisl says, “Seniors that are free should be eating C1 and juniors that are free should be eating C2.”

These students “should” be eating at the time assigned to them but in some cases they do not, which can also shift the already planned out number of students
supposed to eat in a specific period.

Commons proctor Mr. Katz believes that this traffic in the Commons happens because students who want to sit with all of their friends realize they cannot, so they all just stand around waiting for an area to open up.

Mr. Teisl has already planned out how many people can fit in the Commons and that is why there are assigned periods to eat so problems like this can be avoided.

Craziness in the Commons does not happen every day, but it is a problem when it comes around. Mr. Teisl says that on Thursdays seating can be a problem because faculty that usually eat at eleven, sometimes eat later. Some students and staff never experience seating issues which is a step in the right direction.

When asked what could be a solution to this problem, Mr. Teisl says, “A new dining hall.” Mr. Katz also agrees that more space
would help minimize the chaos.

That may be a possible fix in the future but when seats are limited now, there are a few things that could help make the Commons less congested.

First, faculty members can be aware of the seating issues for students and if they choose to sit at a round table, they should fill the tables.

Seniors have talked about having a privilege of only seniors being able to eat at round tables. This would make sure that the tables are always filled to thier maximum capacity.

Students in free blocks should also be eating in the periods assigned. If not, they should be aware of the seating arrangements when changing lunch periods.

Anyone can really help be a solution to this problem by just being aware of the issue.