The ‘Commons’ist Manifesto

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A spectre is haunting Calvin — the spectre of Commons. All the powers of Knollcrest have entered into a Holy Alliance to exorcise this spectre. It is high time that Commons-goers should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Commons with a manifesto of the dining hall itself.

Long has the Commons-goer been oppressed under the guise of Knollcrest superiority. But for anyone who makes high-quality food a priority, the choice between Commons and Knoll is clear. Although food at both dining halls is hit-or-miss, Commons has far more options, increasing students’ odds of finding something appetizing. With the taqueria, pizzeria, hotline, Uppercrust and freestanding salad bars, it’s unlikely you will go hungry. The only food “advantage” Knollcrest has over Commons is that they serve Hudsonville ice-cream, but is it truly worth the sacrifice of a bad meal to get some slightly better ice-cream? I think not. Besides, Commons has soft serve, and those with the unlimited plan can simply drop into Knoll to grab some ice cream and then go eat their meal at Commons.

Of course the core of the dining experience is the hotline, and while I concede neither hotline is very enticing, the Knollcrest hotline is abysmal. Even on Saturdays, when Knollcrest is the only dining option, the hotline is a ghost town. Instead everyone gets stuff from the sandwich line, which has less options than the sandwich line at Uppercrust. On the other hand, the Commons hotline always has a line of people, often stretching to the pizzeria. Although this can be frustrating at times, I believe it just points to the superior quality of Commons. Commons has iconic meals like General Tso chicken, pasta night and mac and cheese. I couldn’t name a meal at Knollcrest if there was a gun to my head. Even Sunday dinners, typically considered the worst meal at Commons, have improved this semester, as they have started to rotate their Sunday dinners between student favorites like General Tso chicken and mac and cheese. 

But obviously food is not the only factor here. What about location? I concede that Knoll is closer to most of the dorms, making it the obvious choice for those in the northern dorms like KHvR and BB. However, for those living off campus or in the southern dorms like BHT and SE, the location of Commons is far more convenient. Are we going to decide the superior dining hall based on the convenience of a few underclassmen? I say no. Moreover, Commons is closer to the academic buildings. Are you going to walk all the way to Knollcrest for lunch? I say no.

Further, the hours of Commons are far more accessible. Monday through Thursday, once it opens at 7:15 a.m., Commons is only closed from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Knollcrest on the other hand is not even open for breakfast, and only open for an hour and a half for both lunch and dinner. As someone with a busy schedule, I appreciate the convenience of being able to grab a sandwich from Uppercrust after class, something which is impossible at Knoll. The goal of the dining hall should be to cater to the hard-working students of this fine University, so tell me, how can you support a dining hall with such restrictive hours?.

Lastly, Commons just feels more dynamic. When you walk into Knoll on a weekday other than Friday, it just feels dead. Most seats are empty, and the few people who do eat there do so in silence. While this may be pleasant for some, it feels eerie to me. Conversely, when you walk into Knoll on Saturday or for Friday dinner, it is TOO full, and you struggle to find a seat. After all, spatially Knollcrest is the smaller dining hall. Trying to find an empty table at Knoll for your friends on a Friday night is an impossible feat. In Commons, however, there is simultaneously a sense of bustle, and free space to eat. I never struggle to find a table in Commons, yet it still has the hustle and bustle of activity that many students love. Sure, the long lines can get annoying, but it’s better than eating somewhere where you can hear a pin drop.

Clearly, the evidence is stacked against Knollcrest. So, I ask you, look at the facts and accept the obvious: Commons is superior.