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Head to Head: Food In the Library?

Should Be Allowed

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Editor’s Note: This piece is apart of an intentionally published duo debating the merits of allowing food in the library. The sister-article which argues in opposition can be found here.

 

Parker is currently undergoing a massive period of change–we have yet another new Upper School head, Shanti Elliot has left, and most importantly, the library will remain food free. It may sound a bit odd to others that one of the most important changes to me isn’t really a change at all, but in combination with a new series of rules about where students can eat, it has the potential to cause quite a few frustrating side effects.

First of all, I want to admit that the mess last year was abhorrent. Cockroaches shouldn’t ever be anywhere near the school–the only good place for a cockroach is the heart of the sun–and we need to ensure that that never happens again.

This year, the school has limited where students may eat by banning eating on the catboxes, library, library hallway, and non-chair settings.  There’s a new rule that states we must eat in chairs, reducing the available eating spaces to an all-time low.

From a purely mathematical point of view, there are about 150–trust me, I counted–available places to eat with tables and chairs, and about 350 total students in the Upper School, leaving 200 students without eating space.

The reason the cafeteria and teachers’ rooms are not counted towards this total is due to the cafeteria’s being predominantly used by middle/intermediate/lower schoolers during U-lunch, and the teachers rooms’ being somewhat unreliable dining areas, dependent on the teacher’s schedule and temperament.

In addition to that, being in such close proximity to teachers can definitely curb certain conversation topics. The library, on the flipside, has many more private areas in the study rooms, and it would be much easier to avoid middle schoolers in the library as opposed to the cafeteria.

It is a valid point that most students do not all eat the same time. However, eating is, especially at Parker, extremely social, and having the chance to eat with your friends is extremely important. As such, many students choose to wait through H-breaks until they can eat with their friend groups.

In order to solve this problem, I would personally propose a pair of changes–opening up a specific wing of the library, the balcony in warmer months, and the corridor outside the library, year- round.

Opening up a wing of the library is a bonus in two ways–it increases the likelihood of people actually going to the library (I think we can all agree that the $5 million is wasted if nobody goes), and it provides quite a few eating places. Opening only a smaller section of the library, moreover, allows for easier management of people eating and of the food mess they create.

Allowing food in the library hallway is consistent with the existing rules about where students can eat–every other hallway outfitted with tables is a place students are officially allowed to eat, whereas the 2nd floor hallway is off limits for who knows why. Additionally, opening up the hallway would work to alleviate the space shortage.  I would estimate that another 25 students could eat quite comfortably in that hallway, along with about 75 in the library, which would halve the number of students without nice places to eat during Ulunch.

 

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Head to Head: Food In the Library?