Lack of seating leads to lunch letdown

Illustrated by Ainsley Davis

School is stressful for everyone, but lunch is the beacon of light that shines through the darkness for many students. Meeting up with friends during lunch offers students a chance to catch up and talk about their classes, but for many students, it’s just another stressor. Finding an available lunch table is a blessing, but there are only so many tables on campus. Many students can’t find adequate seating for lunch, and that’s an issue.

While there is seating outside and in the cafeteria, it’s not enough. At each lunch, half the student body, approximately 1,500 students, resort to sitting on the ground in front of the plants or even behind the school. There is only a whopping total of 136 tables in the quad and the cafeteria, and that’s not enough to host the many students that attend each lunch.

This lack of tables leads students to their last option– sitting under the awnings, or worse, on the stairs. Friend groups crowding these crucial walking areas can slow people that are trying to get around them or get to class on time during staggered schedules. This can also lead to safety issues if both parties don’t move fast enough.

Another issue with so few tables is the weather. It’s usually just hot in Las Vegas, but when it rains, it pours. Bad weather can leave students that have a table stranded, but those that sit on the ground have it much worse. According to Current Results, a weather and science fact website, the average rainfall for 2018 in Las Vegas was 3.4 inches over a span of 20 days. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re sitting on the ground weather can dramatically impact your lunch experience by soaking the cement and ruining that cute new outfit.

On the other hand, adding tables can be an issue for school administrators. They’re costly and they only fit a few students. According to Worthington Direct (lunch table website), a table very similar to the tables in the quad ranges anywhere from $675.95 to $773.95. That’s a lot of money, especially for a table that will be at the mercy of the weather and student behavior.

While the school promotes #Projectnado to raise money for important issues, it’s not going towards table; it’s going towards “upgrading our technology, expanding our school beautification of cougar pride [and] improving our safety & security measures.” While all those causes are important, so is making sure every student has a place to eat their food. Isn’t school beautification improved with the addition of lunch tables making students feel proud to have a place to sit at their school? Students knowing the money would go towards tables is important because maybe they’d be more willing to donate to #Projectnado.

There’s also the issue of putting the tables somewhere accessible. The cafeteria and quad are both already crowded enough, but the area in front of the gymnasium and boys locker room is free reign. Placing tables there would also be more accessible for students with classes such as CrossFit, autoshop and the other classes in the portables on that side of school.

Besides simply having less students, there’s not much administrators can do except buy more tables. Earmarking some of the #Projectnado money for lunch tables would spark student interest because it helps them in the long run. Even merely providing benches could drastically decrease the number of students sitting on the ground. Making sure every student has a place to eat would instill ownership and pride in the school community, and this should be a top priority.