“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings,” according to Kakuzo Okakuara. With the demolition of the old cafeteria and the 300 building, Lancers have adjusted to the makeshift lunch setup, which includes large tables with tents in the quad and next to the football field. Students have many different thoughts on their new surroundings, and The Lancer found it fitting to interview them.
Many students enjoy eating lunch in the current setup. “For the parameters that we have, I think it’s decently well done,” said Andrew Blanco (’22).
Sebastian Colmenares (’23) appreciates the addition of tents, since he “didn’t like sitting in the sun and getting burnt up.”
Kyle Nguyen (’23) felt that the new setup was more inclusive because with the tables more “spread out,” students could migrate around campus instead of remaining in one spot for the whole lunch period.
However, some students prefer previous years’ arrangements. The earlier setup allowed for a “much happier” environment, while the current one was “more scattered,” according to Blanco. Also, Nguyen noted the new difficulty of finding students who were scattered across campus, compared to previous years when students were mostly gathered in the quad at lunch.
The greatest issue this year is the lack of chairs. Blanco noticed numerous students standing up while eating and others resorting to stealing chairs. “The culture of first come first serve is pretty hard,” he added. Adarsh Gupta (’23) agreed, believing that a major improvement the school could make would be adding more chairs and tables.
Another complaint some students have is the long lunch lines. The lunch line can last up to thirty minutes on some days, according to Colmenares, and can hinder students from eating with their friends. But others believe that the new system of multiple stations to buy lunch — with kiosks in the Burns Pavilion, the Commons, the quad, and next to the track — is better than the singular lunch line at the old cafeteria.
“There are more locations to choose from,” said Krish Agarwal (’23) when referring to the quad’s Urban Bloc. Nguyen also felt that each individual lunch line was “less crowded.”
Nitish Gourishetty (’23) expressed concerns about COVID-19 safety, stating that “People are moving chairs right next to each other.” Additionally, the large, round tables allow for too many students to congregate without masks, added Nguyen.
Students are divided regarding the new setup’s effects on their commutes across campus. Suchita Rao (’24) felt that the tables and tents have minimal effect on her movement around campus during passing periods, as she prefers to use “sidewalks or roads.” However, Nguyen felt annoyed whenever he had to find friends who were across campus at lunch, especially with the arduous walk “all the way” from the quad to the tables by the football field.
Despite students’ mixed feelings, the provisional setup is here to stay, at least for another year. “I hate it when I get my chair stolen,” said Colmenares with a laugh. But he added, “Lunch is pretty cool.”