Noon Class Block Removal Places Strain on Dining Halls

The 5Cs have eliminated the noon to 1:10 p.m. class block starting this semester, allowing
every student and faculty member to have free time during this period. Although many are pleased with the change, there has been increased pressure on dining halls due to the influx of students during lunch.

Pomona College did not formerly have classes during that block, but the rest of the 5Cs removed the time slot from their class schedules.

In an email to TSL, Harvey Mudd College Registrar Mark Ashley wrote that the Academic Deans Council (ADC) suggested that the 5Cs remove classes from those times
in order to “minimize variation between the colleges and thus minimize cross-registration conflicts.” This change is part of a two-year pilot set out by the ADC that takes effect across the
5Cs starting this semester. 

Scripps College Registrar Kelly Hogencamp noted other reasons for the consortium-wide change. Previously, the noon to 1:10 p.m. block was five minutes shorter than blocks at other colleges, creating problems for professors and for scheduling, and it only allowed for a five-minute passing period before the 1:15 p.m. block.

Ashley mentioned student and faculty well-being as another motive for removing the class block.

“With specific regard to the noon time, the ADC agreed that having a midday break for lunch was healthier for students and faculty alike,” he said.

He did note, however, that removing the block could have further consequences on dining hall capacity.

“From a registrar’s office perspective, the effect on scheduling at HMC has been minimal,” Ashley said. “The fact that other colleges did the same thing, though, may have had ripple effects on dining services.”

Jennifer Carbajal, general manager of Collins Dining Hall at Claremont McKenna College, said that the consequences of the scheduling change for dining halls was immediately apparent.

“This is a major adjustment for us,” Carbajal said. “It was noticeable right away. The same amount of people that we were receiving are now coming in a shortened period of time.”

Carbajal, who has been with CMC Dining for two years but started as general manager this semester, added that a “lunch rush” begins at Collins around 12:15 p.m. To adjust for the high volume of lunch-goers, Carbajal has changed some aspects of the dining hall, such as adding more tables and chairs, distributing “Options at CMC” flyers that mention various dining options, and implementing a new utility crew to turn tables.

Carbajal said that she supports the idea of a consortium-wide free period but still has doubts about the change.

“I would imagine the whole campus is feeling it,” Carbajal said of the lunch crowd. “Sometimes you have an action, and you don’t know it’s all going to trickle out into other places.”

Although there has been stress on dining hall managers to provide for the large amount of students during lunchtime, students, such as Ellie Harris PO ’18, look favorably on the elimination of the lunchtime block.

Harris called the new time slot “beneficial
for students because it forces them to take a break and find time to eat lunch.” 

Satya Chitturi PO ’18 also spoke positively of the change.

“Some of the most interesting conversations at Pomona take place over food, and this policy provides an opportunity for this to occur,” Chitturi said. “In that sense, it also helps people stay connected with each other.”

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply