Overcrowded lunch in student commons poses difficulty for regulars


The student commons are meant to give students a place to study, eat or simply spend time. But when school pictures, club meetings and different teacher-led activities occupy the commons during lunch hour, students aren’t able to take advantage of the space in the same way.

A system is in place whereby clubs and organizations can rent the space for their own use– something many clubs have utilized for years. This way, clubs have a space to conduct meetings or events that will attract a larger turnout. 

Students who regularly eat lunch at the commons, however, may feel disappointed when they arrive to lunch ready to relax with friends and find that the commons have been closed off for club use. When this happens, regular visitors of the commons have had to roam the halls for lunch space, rather than eating at their preferred location.

“There isn’t anything wrong with clubs using the student commons, they are for everyone to share but when they are using two or three tables and leaving all the other ones open and don’t let anyone in then it’s not that cool,” sophomore Max Epstein said.

Epstein regularly eats at the student commons during lunch with his group of friends. The large tables of the commons allow him and his friends to eat together comfortably. When they can’t eat at the commons, they search for open space in the halls and eat on the floor.

Certain clubs using the commons during lunch don’t permit other students to enter the commons while in use. Sometimes, club sponsors stand at the front of the commons asking students either to leave or join the club.

It can be uncomfortable to be asked to join a club or leave because I eat there everyday and they want to take that away from me.

— Andy Marks

Most clubs haven’t had issues with students disrupting their club meetings at the commons and conduct their meetings while students who are not affiliated with the club eat lunch. Sometimes, students eating lunch will be asked to eat at a different part of the commons so that the main space can be used for club meetings. Other times, people eating in the commons are welcomed into whichever club is meeting that day. 

“Our club meetings are loud and fun and really anyone can come, so even if the kids eating lunch in the commons aren’t in the club, they can still participate in the meeting… The goal of Best Buddies is to promote inclusivity, so it would be against our mission to kick people out of the commons,” senior and Best Buddies President Sydney Morgenstern said. 

On the other hand, students who eat lunch in the commons feel that clubs are not necessarily aware of the impact of their use of the commons. Some would prefer that club meetings take place elsewhere so that the whole commons space isn’t used. 

Students who regularly eat lunch in the commons are more forgiving to meetings such as end of year ceremonies or special events (staff lunches, holiday celebrations, picture day) that are much more infrequent and do not pose regular inconvenience for students.