Before I begin I want to point out that I have no affiliation with Dining Services, financial or political. (This is why I have not officially endorsed Susan’s bid for the U.S. presidency.) The only power DS holds over me is dictating which flavor of coffee I’ll drink each day. Thus, it is with total transparency that I love the changes made this year.
Last week’s edition of The Concordian included an opinion piece by Austin Gerth, the current Opinion Editor, wherein he called upon DS to undo the changes they made to the table layout in Anderson Commons this year. His analysis was reasonable yet wistful, and my purpose here is not to undercut the arguments made in that piece (though I shall be forced to refute one or two), only to provide counterpoint.
Mr. Gerth points out that the new layout was most likely implemented because it greatly reduces wear on the carpet, as walking paths change and chair legs scrape new ground. But DS and its carpet are not the only benefactors — we eaters are too. First and foremost, the new layout is more convenient. Last year, the “tall tables” that Mr. Gerth refers to were far in the back, their current position occupied by long tables that forced one to walk through a gauntlet of people in chairs and backpacks slung haphazardly beside them just to reach a table behind them. The tall and circular tables that we have now provide much more room to walk, to maneuver through traffic, and to pause and consider before pouncing on an unoccupied table.
Furthermore, conversations and observations have led me to the anecdotal conclusion that where a person sits in DS is surprisingly strict. It seems that people choose a spot or area or side of the room they prefer, and then sit in the same location at every meal. The change-up in layout may encourage some people to find new places to sit. The benefits of such a change are hard to define or put in words, but it certainly isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps this seems like grasping at straws, but I will point out that Mr. Gerth claimed that there are no more tall tables located against the walls of DS, when in fact the wall furthest from the entrance is lined by tall tables, even providing those beautiful views that we all love, and two more next to the emergency exit.
Even if the tall tables were only close to the entrance and far from the windows, the misfortune would be subjective. When I am eating alone in DS, it is usually because I don’t have time for a long, sit-down meal. Having tall tables so close to the exit lets me get in and out of DS quickly (at least it feels that way). Mr. Gerth mentions the real and bizarre stigma that surrounds eating alone in DS, but in my lazy, underachieving senior year, I no longer give so much as a steamed carrot what others think of me — a liberating perspective that I encourage every freshman to begin cultivating now.
I want to thank Austin Gerth for bringing this shadowy topic into the mainstream, where the marketplace of ideas can finally settle the controversy once and for all. And even if we disagree on this subject, at least we can both see that the white bowls are an insult to the proud tradition of Concordia.
This article was submitted by Connor Edrington, contributing writer.