Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: Masters edition

Many students leave tables looking like this in the dining hall. This only creates unnecessary and extra work for the dining hall staff.
Many students leave tables looking like this in the dining hall. This only creates unnecessary and extra work for the dining hall staff.
Angel Henriquez

Every day, I eat three meals in the dining hall – breakfast, lunch and dinner. I enter the dining hall, smiling and grateful that there is hot and fresh food prepared for me to eat. I say good morning, afternoon, or evening to any dining staff I see. I pick up my meal of choice, grab a drink, sit down, eat, talk to friends, collect my plates and garbage, and finally leave them at the designated plate dropoff location. Most importantly though, on my way out I always say, “Thank you.” Doesn’t that seem like a simple enough process? Well at least for me, it is. I’ve been doing it for over five years at Masters. And if I can do it, anyone can do it!

No matter what, though, I never fail to see multiple vacant tables around me at most mealtimes with the gross sight of dirty dishes, cups, napkins and trash left all over for the cleaning staff to clean up– the ultimate signal of disrespect.

This has been an epidemic throughout my time at Masters, and despite warnings from school administrators, pleas from dining hall staff to stop, or even threats to shut down popular spaces like the Fonseca Center (FC) or the popular high table stools, those pleas always fall on deaf ears and students continue to unfairly leave their mess for others to clean. 

The dining hall staff are some of the kindest people who work on our campus. They all do their jobs with joy and pride, have stories to share, and always want to interact with and connect with students. Still, students’ constant disrespect of the space and the dining hall staff makes it extremely difficult to maintain good relationships with such special people.

 Dining hall staff have two jobs: to make the community food and to keep the general space clean. It is not in their job description to clean up after individuals. It’s actually our responsibility to do that. We see them, working hard to feed us daily, and we can not continue to make their jobs unnecessarily harder. I have seen with my own two eyes, the extra time it takes for them to clean up after those messes. That sense of privilege and entitlement that some students show when leaving their trash for others to pick up, makes for a toxic community culture, one that should have no place at Masters.

The solution to this problem is easy though, and can be implemented in just five quick and easy steps that everyone (no seriously, everyone) can follow with ease and without confusion:

I hope everyone can follow these simple steps, so we stop biting the hand that is feeding us, and show the dining hall staff the simple and basic respect that they deserve, every day.

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