Is running out of space going to be a “common” problem at Commons?

Photo courtesy calvin.edu

Photo courtesy calvin.edu

Let’s face it: the glory days of the Knoll-hole are over. The 2016-2017 school year brings forth the rise of the shiny-new and glorious Commons. With sleek metal, comfortable booths, delicious pre-made salads and heavenly wood-fired pizza, why would anyone still want to go to Knollcrest?

And that is precisely the point. While this is indeed sad and unsettling, I am far less concerned with the plight Knollcrest is currently facing. Rather, I am more worried about the teeming mass of hungry bodies that squeeze themselves together to fit into Commons 2.0.

For the past week, my friends and I have fought our way through the throngs of crowds flowing into Commons, with wait lines longer than the airport. In a 30-minute lunch break, it seems almost impossible to get anything better than the buffet salads or soups.

Worst of all, the seating is nonexistent. It takes a good five to ten minutes of circling Commons for unsuspecting prey (aka those lucky enough to have a table) to finally snatch a booth or table as soon as someone gets up. In fact, students have been reduced to eating on the ground, in the outer hallway, or standing due to the sheer lack of available seats at Commons.

This raises the ever-present question in our society: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or, in this case: what causes this problem, less seating due to the remodel or more interest in Commons after its new update? Are more people going to Commons now or is there genuinely less seating? Or is the seating created in a way that fails to optimize the space available (ex. When one person sits in a six-seat booth)?

However, there are two potential solutions we, the Calvin student body, can do to fix this seating dilemma. First, students with a lunch break larger than 30 minutes should stagger when they enter Commons. Rather than darting to Commons as soon as class lets out, if students wait 15 or 30 minutes the swell of the crowd will significantly dissipate.

The second solution is even simpler: go to Knollcrest! Knollcrest food may not be as new or as exciting, but it’s still great nonetheless. I fear that many students seem to forget about Knollcrest around lunchtime or feel as though it is too far. Knollcrest, in actuality, is approximately a three-minute walk away. Just attribute this extra walk to getting a little more exercise in your day!

There you go, beautiful humans of Calvin College. Stagger your eating times and diversify your dining hall choices. If we could all make some effort to change up our schedule for the greater good, I’m sure we’d all be a little happier and a lot more efficient.