Dining hall frustration

Walking by the Harris Millis dining hall at 7 p.m., passers-by will be greeted by a symphony of gurgling, grumbling and groaning. The main instrument of these sounds — hungry stomachs. With the crowds growing larger during meal times, brunch and dinner services have slowed down to a crawl leaving many students frustrated and famished.   Long lines with a sometimes 45 minute wait for an omelet can really pique the appetite. The closing of the Simpson dining hall for renovation has wreaked havoc on the other dining halls.   The spillover has most notably affected Harris Millis, the unlimited dining facility now closest to Redstone Campus.   The renovations to Simpson dining hall are going to be exciting. The dining facility will be more restaurant-style and will revitalize the Redstone dining experience.   But until then, the closing of Simpson will continue to inconvenience students. Students not only have to wait longer for food, but they also can’t find a place to eat that food once they’ve been served, unless you count the floor.   To help control the rush, dining halls are encouraging students to eat earlier or later than they usually do according to General Manager of Food Services Melissa Zelazny. Students should be able to eat when they are hungry, not when they think they will be least likely to have to sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor. The thought of, “I wonder if I will get a seat?” should not have to cross our minds when we decide to go get food.   Sitting on the floor is a potential safety hazard as well. If a fire alarm goes off, students will be hindered getting out of the facility, and the floor is also an innately dirtier location to eat. Dining halls not only serve as a place to feed our insatiable college appetites, but also as a social venue.  Friends meet up, relax, share a meal and talk about their day.   When crowds grow so large that seats become a luxury, the atmosphere turns from one of relaxation to one of frustration. The dining halls are one of the few on campus venues where students are free from reminders of their studies.  They can go there and unwind. Harris Millis has always been a great place to get a large group of friends together — there has always been plenty of seating in the past.    Now, bonding with friends is limited too. An entire residential floor can’t find a place to sit to get to know one another, limiting community building.  It seems like the overcrowding is a problem that won’t go  away until renovations are complete.   So for the time being, if you’re headed to Harris Millis, bring a blanket because you may be forced into an impromptu picnic.