Commons fails to accomodate student schedules

By Cooper Urban September 19, 2018

As students struggle to wake up early in the morning, their foremost adversary is grogginess. But soon, stomachs begin to wake up and assert their control, leading to a noticeable feeling of hunger. The simplest way to satisfy this craving is to enjoy a full breakfast, but that is easier said than done for many freshmen with 8am classes at Rensselaer.

Located right in the middle of the freshmen dorms, Commons is the most convenient dining hall for freshmen to visit. It is not unusual to see the building packed during meal times. Yet, on weekdays, it is almost empty at 7:30am when it opens. The reason for this is two-fold: those without 8am classes can afford to sleep in and eat breakfast at a later time, and many students who do have classes at 8 find the 7:30 opening-time too constraining to make Commons a viable option for breakfast.

Those in the second group have a point. When the time it takes to wait in a line for food (there is usually only one station open at 7:30), get a drink, eat, and walk across campus to a class is factored in, breakfast at Commons becomes impossible. Even those who make an effort to get there as soon as it opens must hurry and finish their food in order to give themselves enough time to get to class. The alternatives to Commons are another dining hall (namely Russell Sage), a granola bar, or foregoing breakfast entirely. While getting by with these options is certainly possible for freshmen, it is senseless considering that the problem is so easily fixed.

With any organization as large and bureaucratic as a university, there are innumerable complex problems that defy obvious answers. This is not one of them. No one would ask that Commons open at 5 in the morning. Rather, a small scale solution is the way to go. When it comes to waking up for early morning classes, every minute makes a difference. If Commons were to open a mere 15 minutes earlier, it would be possible to eat breakfast there and not be rushed. Students who have classes at 8 would feel much more at ease knowing that they had sufficient time to eat. This change would affect the lives of many students in a positive way.