A Suitable Solution

It’s 7:45 a.m. on any given day of penultimate week Winter Term next year. You have two papers due and a double period test first period. You had been up late studying the night before and are running on about five hours of sleep. On top of that, you will probably not eat breakfast. This is mostly due to the fact that you have neither the time nor the willpower to walk the distance to the old hockey rink. As far as the student body knows right now, the school has not proposed alternative options that would take the hassle out of eating breakfast. The Commons renovation plan was initiated to eliminate malnourishment of students once and for all or at least until the next upgrade. But during the time when Commons is actually under construction, the number of students eating breakfast will decrease because of the lack of alternatives and ultimately the students’ nutrition will become worse. If the school is going to go through with a large-scale renovation that has such a huge impact on the well being of students, they ought to factor in the cost of providing adequate interim solutions. The most logical way to improve the situation would be to convert a more convenient location on campus into a place to serve breakfast than the old hockey rink. The most reasonable and available place to do this would be the Underwood Room. The Underwood Room is in a convenient location for all students as it is in the proximity of academic buildings. Unless you have P.E. first period, the Underwood Room is a well-located, comfortable place to eat breakfast. The conversion would certainly not require an extensive set up. It would basically be what continuous dining in Upper Right is now: a few toasters and a large supply of bagels and cereal. The only difficulty would be finding a way to refrigerate a milk supply, but this could be easily solved by bringing over one of the Commons milk dispensers. The only fathomable reason that the Underwood Room could not be used is because there may be potential problems meeting Massachusetts Health Code. But considering that converting Underwood to a food venue is a viable option to solve hunger during the Commons renovation, and considering that food is often served in Underwood now, there is no reason why the school should not be able to make accommodations to meet health regulations. Another way to improve breakfast for boarders would be to bring breakfast to the dorms. The school could provide a supply of breakfast foods and a toaster for each dorm. This idea not only is beneficial to students, but also is economically logical. On, toasters run from $14. They should not be a financial burden. On, a six-pack of Stop&Shop brand bagels runs for $2.00 ($0.33 per bagel) and a ten-pack of Eggo waffles runs for $1.79 ($0.18 per waffle). The conventional wisdom is that Commons spends $2 per meal per student. This means that in a thirty-day period, the school would spend $6 or $10 for breakfast per student versus the $60 they are spending now. This option also requires much less labor and therefore costs the school even less. Given these low figures, a lot of boarders (at least in Fuess) are willing to pay for the food themselves. Whatever the administration chooses to do, it needs to take into consideration that without alternatives, many students will go without eating breakfast or waste their conference period on the trip to and from the rink. The Commons renovation is an earnest endeavor, which will improve the quality of life at Andover for future generations. But for now, it is only right that the current students, especially the class of 2008, should not have to completely suffer for their benefit. It is anything but fair for students to be forced to go hungry during the renovation. The least that the school can offer is a satisfactory solution.