*This article is part of The Ranchor, The Anchor’s biannual satire edition*
Every student at Hope College knows about Cook Dining Hall, and we all appreciate the additional meal options on campus. Since the beginning of this fall semester, there has been a noticeable change in the dining room. All of the small tables have been replaced with large tables, seating up to eight students.
In pursuit of understanding the cause of eliminating the smaller tables, I met in Cook Hall with May Vanderkiln (’23), president of Student Congress. We were forced to take a seat at a large, 8-person circular table and sit directly next to each other. When asked about the purpose of replacing the small tables, she didn’t hesitate to share that the purpose was to bring an end to introversion. She explained, “Introversion was becoming a big problem. There was something off-putting about seeing students sitting at one-person tables, completely minding their own business. It made our school look bad. We had to take action.”
As I glanced around the dining room, I noticed there were only two large circular tables that were completely occupied, solely by the women’s soccer team. On the other side of the room was a student sitting alone. Admittedly, it looked a little strange to see him sitting at such a large table by himself. The student appeared rather content, his attention focused on the book in front of him. Vanderkiln nudged her head in the student’s direction, “You see? Now that he is sitting at a large table, it will force him to sit with others.”
When I suggested that some students might prefer to sit alone, Vanderkiln nodded enthusiastically. She explained, “That’s what we are trying to change. Student Congress has noticed that some students desire to eat alone, and we find that to be quite a ridiculous flaw that needs fixing. So, we thought that by eliminating the introverts’ options of sitting alone, we could convert all of them to extroversion.”
While the large-table solution has been implemented in Cook, Phelps Dining Hall still has a variety of different sized tables. The hope of Student Congress is that eventually there will be only large tables, in both Phelps and Cook Dining. As Vanderkiln put it, “Hope College needs to do their part in stopping introversion. It is vital to use force when it comes to introverted students by eliminating their options of isolation. Simply wanting some alone time isn’t a good enough excuse to be sitting by yourself in the dining hall.”
What Student Congress forgot to take into consideration was that introverts still find a way to eat alone. Now, more introverted students get their meals in the green to-go boxes and proceed to eat in their dorm. This wasn’t a noticeable problem until Cook Dining Hall became more and more vacant for mealtimes. Bob Kane (’25), a Cook Dining employee, admitted, “There wasn’t one student that ate their meal in the dining room last Thursday. They all came in with their to-go boxes, got stromboli, and left within three minutes. Less work for me, I guess!”
Student Congress is now taking executive action steps toward eliminating the to-go boxes.