Overcrowded student commons displaces students


Photo by Jose Tovar

The student commons are occupied to commemorate the Indian festival Diwali on Oct. 26. With every table occupied, students not participating in the ceremony were not able to eat lunch peacefully.

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

It can be a disappointing sight for students arriving to lunch ready to relax with friends, only to see the large green curtains of the student commons covering the entrance. Any regular visitor of the commons is prepared to be turned away and sent to roam the halls once they see those curtains.

“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 but they 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.

The commons let dozens of people eat comfortably during lunch but when they are closed, all those people really have nowhere to go.”

— sophomore Kaito Horton

Clubs using the commons during lunch don’t permit other students to enter the commons at all. Club sponsors will often 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,” sophomore Andy Marks said.

The Minority Scholars Program occupies the Student commons for their weekly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27. Students not part of the MSP were not allowed to use any of the other tables and were forced to look elsewhere. (Photo by Jose Tovar)

The Minority Scholars Program (MSP) occupies the student commons every Thursday at lunch. However, they regularly only use two or three tables of the eight or nine available. The club leaders sit down at tables while speaking to all the club members who sit on the commons stairs.

“If they are only using two tables and they have a microphone why can’t they let us quietly sit in the corner?” Horton said.

Students feel that clubs are not necessarily aware of the impact of their actions and that the meetings could take place elsewhere so that the whole student commons won’t be used.

Other meetings such as end of year ceremonies or special events (staff lunches, holiday celebrations, picture day) that do take up the entire student commons are more understandable to students, especially when they occur so rarely and do not pose a regular inconvenience for students.