The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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Why Can’t I Eat There?


“Hey, where do you guys want to eat?”

“I don’t know! What about the Junior Lounge?” 

“Nope, they banned that.”

“Uh, what about College Guidance?”

“Too crowded.”

“Java Nook?”

“It’s already packed.”

“I like the library.”

“They shut that down too.”

“What about a teacher’s room?”

“They have a meeting.”

“Well, I guess we could go eat in the cafeteria.”

“It’ll be loud and gross but I guess it’s the only option.” 


Many students at Wilmington Friends School are faced with the problem of where to eat lunch. With such a small building and so many students, finding a quiet place to eat with your friends can be hard. Starting this year, in the fall of 2023, rules about eating spaces were newly enforced after COVID-19. The 2023 Upper School Student and Parent Handbook reads, “Students are not permitted to eat at the high-top tables in the GLC and the lobby outside the library.” Previous to this year, up to 30 students would eat in these areas. Today, these places are strictly monitored during lunch and snack periods, and students who are caught eating are given immediate warnings by teachers in nearby classrooms and the Library Learning Center staff.

Ildiko Miller, Dean for Student Life, was interviewed for this article and, she explained that the enforcement of these regulations did not come out of nowhere. Miller is quoted saying, “People were really messy in the GLC, this is an old building and, it’s well known that we have a mouse problem. The piece of responsibility that is expected of students was non-existent when it came to cleaning up this space.” Miller strongly supports the idea of bringing the concept up for discussion in an upcoming Business Meeting so that the faculty can hear the students’ experiences and opinions about the lunch situation. She has made it clear that this wouldn’t be up for decision and no changes would be made. This would be a discussion. 

Many of the students who used to eat in these newly banned areas are now eating in teacher’s classrooms or have moved into already occupied spaces like the College Guidance Office. Liam Sullivan, class of ‘24, says, “I think that the lack of eating in the junior lounge and GLC is frustrating because it removes those places as social spaces and makes it very hard for me to find a calm place to eat during break and lunch.” 

The friend group that normally eats in college guidance was interviewed, and many of them share the opinion that the already small space is now packed with students. A sophomore who ate in College Guidance last year and, on and off this year, was quoted as saying, “Because of the shift in lunch places I feel slightly less comfortable in college guidance. There is less room and it has forced other people to “migrate” making it overall a slightly less fun place.” The college guidance faculty are also feeling cramped. 

Rose Gnade, College Guidance Counselor, said in response to the migration of students to her office area, “I’m glad to see so many friends here and have them enjoy lunch but it is very crowded and the students struggle to clean up after themselves.” 

Many readers are likely thinking, why is this such an issue? Why don’t students just eat in the cafeteria where it’s intended? Well dear reader, when asked that question, Violet Perloff, ‘24, said, “The cafeteria is scary and unpleasant, my friend group avoids it at all costs.” Ildiko Miller, Dean for Student Life, agrees with the student’s opinion about the cafeteria. She said, “Oh, I totally get it. Lunch is an important time for students to bond and they need to feel relaxed and I get that they don’t feel like that in the cafeteria.” 

But for there to be so much noise there have to be people eating in the cafeteria. Students who eat in the cafeteria were interviewed, and they still said, “I can like never hear my friends and we always leave early.” Even those who choose to eat in the cafeteria agree that it is unpleasant and loud. 

On top of the GLC, Junior Lounge, and the cramped cafeteria, students are also no longer allowed to eat in the library. In the library there are three closed-off study rooms, called the icecubes, that are not allowed to have food in them, but, because there were incidents with a small group of students last year, the library staff and administration agreed to ban all food in the library for this school year. This has also moved friend groups out of the library and in search of new spaces. The biggest downfall that students are facing regarding the library lunch ban is that if a student wants to get work done during lunch in the library they can’t eat at the same time which often forces students to skip a meal to get their work done. 

All in all, students are certainly experiencing the consequences of either their mess or their friend’s messes. Many students around the school who were interviewed or have talked openly about their opinions are hoping that teachers and administration will agree to a trial period where students could start eating in these spaces again. However, until the next step is made, students will continue to experience a lunch location shortage. 

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About the Contributor
Katie Bryan, Staff Writer
Katie Bryan is a community writer for the Whittier Miscellany. This is her fourth year as a part of the Whittier team. She decided to join the Whittier because of encouragement from her eighth-grade English teacher. She likes to stay on a local scale when writing, and she enjoys focusing on the Wilmington Friends community. She finds that she learns significantly more from interviewing than she does writing.   

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