POINT: The Café Strengthens Berkeley’s Community

In August, returning Berkeley students were greeted with the addition of a brand new Café and a new luchtime rule. Everyone must now consume all food in the Café with only two exceptions: seniors may eat in the seniors mall, and students participating in clubs may eat at their meetings. According to an email from the Upper Division administration, these measures were taken to “increase community inclusiveness.” Nevertheless, some students disagree with the new policy. So the question remains–Should students be forced to eat in the Café?

“Spacious and modern.” “Just like a restaurant!” With enough tables to seat 425 people, a pizza oven, and a patio area, what’s not to love about the new Café? Well, despite all of this, some students aren’t incredibly overjoyed that we now have to stay in the Café for the majority of our 45-minute lunch period. This school year, in response to the excessive amount of garbage littered all over campus, our policy on sitting outside while eating was changed, which spurred backlash from students to what is actually a reasonable and necessary policy.

As soon as you walk into the Café for breakfast or lunch, you will immediately be struck by a certain ambience. The sound of all of our friends and peers chatting and laughing, the delicious smell of freshly-cooked food, and the friendly smiles of the SAGE servers. This new policy really inspires a sense of unity amongst the Upper Division student body—every single student together. Many also love the convenience of searching for friends in a smaller place rather than the entirety of the Berkeley campus. According to sophomore C.J. Black, “It’s great that were all together because it’s much easier to get your food and talk to your friends without having to leave the lunchroom.”

Not only does the Café afford students a better environment, but also a cleaner and more efficient one. Not all students know this, but every single day, there is a teacher or faculty member who is in charge of “lunch cleanup.” This teacher will make sure that all students are taking care of their tables, including throwing away leftover food and putting silverware and plates in the proper receptacles. This task used to be much more difficult than it is now, as we needed multiple teachers to monitor every table where students would eat, and even with these faculty members, plates were left all over the place, which was the primary reason for the original change. In the Café, we only need a single faculty member on lunch duty on any given day, and with trash cans placed in the lunch room, it’s not  too challenging for students to remember to throw away their own food. Black also liked “not having to worry about walking long distances to throw away your food.” The Café and the new policy work in conjunction to make the lives of both students and teachers much more pleasant and easy.

Though all may not be happy about the adjustment to our lunch program, it will certainly make cleaning up after ourselves more convenient while also tightening the bonds that make Berkeley a close knit community.