If you have walked past the commons at all this first month of school, you are sure to have noticed the gaping hole where row upon row of shiny mailboxes once stood. Those mourning the loss of “Take Your Shot Tuesday”, however, may find solace in the new and improved dining hall. Indeed, the space beyond the sliding glass doors is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor. But beyond its obvious facelift, what sort of impact has the change left in the short time since the project has been completed?
The general opinion seems to be mixed. From the students I talked to, most focused on how bright and open the space feels. One student commented, “The old dining hall seemed pretty dark to me; it wasn’t the most inviting space.”
Another mentioned that since the dining hall has been renovated, they’d started working there more than ever before. While the previous space was by no means some prison cell, it is surprising how much new lights and some color can transform a room. Furthermore, based on how difficult it can now be to find a table around lunchtime, it does seem like the rate of students using the space has increased greatly.
But how does this new abundance of student traffic affect the hall’s use as a study space? While connection and community have certainly thrived, with more people subsequently comes a higher level of noise. One student I talked to had an insight into this other side of the issue.
“I love how many people are here, but I feel like there’s no in-between space anymore,” she said. “I’m either in the dining hall and finding myself distracted, or I have to go to the library, where I feel like I have to be 100% focused.” Taking out the mailboxes, though creating space, also removed a highly used sitting area. Without the small tables in the commons, Redeemer is down another popular work—and people watching—space.
This brings to mind the last main issue that students have brought to the forefront—the lack of mailboxes. The dissolution of the intercampus mail system brings about certain complications. Professors will have to figure out a new way to hand back assignments, and any students that wish to send or receive mail will have to go to the front office to do so. The system is definitely a work in progress, but hopefully just a byproduct of a new change, and the kinks will be worked out soon.
And so we have come to the end of a rather brief review on the pros and cons of the new dining hall. Now, whether you think the dining hall is great or the worst thing since Tim’s abolished the cardboard wrap holders, this change, like all others, will take some getting used to. While the dining hall may be a more evident example, it is by no means the only one Redeemer has or will institute in the near future.
How we approach these changes matters. The lack of circular tables, while a fair complaint, may not be the most meaningful one in the long run. That’s not to say that we should accept everything. Take the time, question the decisions. However, sometimes it’s best to appreciate and adapt to the work and efforts that have been taken rather than dwelling on the negative.