Having lunch on campus never had been a serious or difficult problem for Mark Love, a senior major in computer science in Penn State University Abington (PSU), who is really busy and has lots of classes to take. However, since the September in 2016 when the new students came, he finds that having lunch has become such a hard thing. Every day when he finishes his class at 12:05 p.m., the large cafeteria is fully filled with people and there is no more seat for anyone for more than one hour. Even when he goes outside, the tables are crowded with people as well. As a result, he always abandons his lunch and just goes to somewhere else like library for study because he has another class begins at 1:25 p.m., which means he does not have much time to wait for a seat to have meal. Says Mark: “I feel bad when I find that most time I cannot have my lunch on campus in the whole semester. There are too many people there. I am not the only one. School should think about that problem.
The data shows that 60% of the students take their lunch at school and 30% of them have the lessons which finished at 12:05 and almost 5% of them cannot have lunch before their afternoon classes. Although some of them have cars so that they can go off campus for lunch, most of those 5% still need to stay on campus due to the reasons like the compact class schedule like Mark. It is an obviously big problem when all the data came out since there are more than 4000 people in this campus which show that more than 100 students cannot have their lunch in the cafeteria. Although school has created another small cafe in Woodland building, the seats are still not enough.
The University really need to deal with the space problem of the cafeteria as soon as possible since there will be more students in the semester of 2017 Spring and make some change on the class arrangement so that students will not get too crowded at lunch time at noon.
SOME OF CURRENT EFFORTS AND CLAIMS
On the school website, we can find that school tries to make something to keep the order at the peak time at noon. “…Instructors and counselors are on hand during the lunch hour to assist and supervise.” which is posted by the education program office. However, this still not enough and cannot thoroughly solve the problem. Besides, the small cafe in Woodland opened this year shows the positive attitude of the University to solve this problem. Some students could spend their lunch time there, drinking some coffee or having some breads. However, it is still not enough. First, there is no oven in the small cafe. Second, there no formal lunch cuisines provided there but only some croissants. Last but not the least, the seat in cafe of Woodland is still not enough.
THE BENEFIT OF CHANGE
Benefits for the health of students
Regular meal plan will help students keep fit. Though it seems a small thing for people to not have a meal for a time, it will become a significant health issue if people always ignore their lunch. Improvement of the school cafeteria will greatly enhance the life quality of students and help them become a better person both physically and mentally. Mark now is a little malnutrition because he seldom gets the opportunity to have lunch. The situation makes him to think about learning to cook and carrying the food to school, which he may take something at noon and not been hungry and exhausted in the afternoon. However, the problem is that the temperature has been lower and lower recently and it is really uncomfortable to eat something cold in such a chilly day. Mark is now entangled and does not what to do.
Benefits for the concentration of students for their afternoon classes
No doubt, it is hard for anyone to concentrate and pay attention to others while starving and thirsty. So do the students. It is a little ridiculous for those do not have a chance to have their lunch to get the full quality of their afternoon lessons. According to the scientific research, students will feel tired, hungry and anxious while listening to the professors. In addition, what they see on the board may not be the functions of calculus or the explanation of a phenomena but a list of food they want to go to eat after class or a picture of a full setting table with roast chickens, steaks and many other delicacies. They can hardly catch up with their teachers and classmates so that they will keep silent if the teacher asks them a question, which is really bad for a student both on their own academic achievement and the impression of their professors.
Benefit for the students who want to study in the library but find no seat
To my surprise, it is a really interesting thing that library is always full of people at noon, which seems that students do not need to have something and do not feel hungry because of the knowledge of the books. But recently, I find the truth. Most people stay in the library are not working on their projects or studying but sleeping or playing their phones and computers, because they do not have a place to go and to have lunch. However, it is really inconvenient for the students who truly want to study in the library at noon because the two reasons: people want to work cannot get a seat and they could only sit on the floor or give up their decision of study and then go out; library becomes noisy since those people have nothing to do but talk or watch the videos through the internet. As a result, it reveals that the issue of the cafeteria not only influence those people who cannot have a seat to have lunch but many more other students indirectly.
Benefits for the University
If the cafeteria is rearranged, school can attract and contain more and more people, which will improve the reputation of the school and make the Penn State Abington better.
Reuse of the room in Lares building
The University has really many effective and economical ways to solve this problem. I find that there are many spare room in Lares which close to the original cafeteria and could be used just on the lunch time. It is really wasteful if school restructure the cafeteria because it is actually empty in the morning and in the evening, so reuse of the spare room is the best way. School could just buy some tables and chairs and set them at the lunch time in the room like Lares 108 or 112 when there are no events holding there and lock it or use it for other things just after lunch time. It is really easy and quick to achieve the goal that makes all students have the place and chance to have lunch.
Rearrangement of the class schedule
If the education office of school could rearrange the schedule and not make the 12:00p.m. to 1:00p.m. become such a crash period everything will also be solved next semester. Classes can end not only at 12:05p.m. but also 11:30a.m. or 12:45p.m. so that student will be distributed into different classes at different time and not all get in the cafeteria at the same time.
Earlier open of the lunch time
Now the cafeteria starts serving the lunch at 11 o’clock and sometimes even later, so if the cafeteria could open 30 minutes earlier, maybe many people can take their lunch earlier and leave the cafeteria earlier for other students.
Although school has made something to deal with this problem and since it is such an old campus, some lacks could be tolerated, but everything done before is still not enough and the issue cannot be ignored. From my own research, Beth Anne Bradley, Marcia Claire Delia and Deanna Bosley, who work in the school student affair center and education program, could greatly help us. As a public institution, the University has the obligation to make sure every student has the equal rights on everything when they at school and thus, every student should have the ability and chance to have lunch on campus as they want. University must solve the issue in order to make Penn State Abington a better place for students and benefit the future of the University.
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