While students may have spent their spring break laying out the beach towel, Berkeley Dining Hall management received new orders for layout.Orders came from the Master’s Office to rearrange the Berkeley dining hall, placing the front desk in the center of the room. Students on their way towards the dining hall won’t walk through the entire Berkeley common room before swiping in. The furniture in the common room was also rearranged to create smaller groups. I’ve heard a few logical explanations for the change from bewildered students. Could it be to prevent the sly from sneaking in without swiping? Or is this an effort to eliminate the nightly back up in the line to the dining hall?

Babe Liberman ’11 explained to me the real reasoning for the rearrangement. “Master Chun wanted to make it look more like a common room.”

“I guess it’s nice to have it,” Timothy Orr ’09 says hesitantly of the new and improved common room. “I guess, now that it’s cordoned off, it’s a little nicer.”

One freshman student thought it was time for a change. “I think it’s a lot better for the congestion. It would get super-crowded by that door,” she said, gesturing to the original entrance of Berkeley. However, she didn’t think that the common room’s new configuration would improve the disruption caused by the dining hall.

“I don’t think it’s going to help the common room situation since it’s going to look like an aisle anyway,” she said.

It’s true. And it sounds like a hallway. The oceanic sound of conversation and dishes clattering is unavoidable. Bubbling up from the tables and echoing off the wooden rafters, it comes over the stained-glass separator like a waterfall.

Liberman believes that the reconfigurations have decreased the number of diners at Berkeley.

“It seems less crowded. People don’t want to come anymore because of the line,” she said, referring to the roped-off entrance that appeared briefly before spring break. It divided swipers entering the dining hall into Berkeley students and non-Berkeley students. Liberman was allowed to use the shorter line.

“I liked it because when you’re in a rush midday, it’s easier to get in,” Liberman said. “But when you’re with friends, it’s not helpful being in the slower line.”

Leave a comment with any thoughts you may have about recent changes in the Berkeley dining hall.

Simon Swartzman