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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

Give underclassmen opportunities to eat lunch off campus

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Students gather at Union Station to eat lunch. (Photo by unionstationdc.com)

As a senior looking back at my time at Gonzaga, one of the most reminiscent and enjoyable experiences during my high school years was my time at lunch. Lunch is one of the only times during the day where students can take a break from the rigorous class work and long lasting lectures spread throughout their schedules to enjoy a meal alongside friends. In order to promote more ways for younger students to get involved in the Gonzaga community, off-campus lunches should be granted to freshmen and sophomore students alongside upperclassmen.

At Gonzaga, junior and senior students are given the opportunity to leave campus and grab a meal in the various cafes and restaurants scattered around downtown Washington, D.C. Personally, this opportunity has allowed myself to grow in maturity having to navigate my way around the large city while also granting me the ability to make memories amongst friends as we traversed the streets of Washington, D.C. Although it may seem foolish to allow freshmen and sophomores that same opportunity to leave campus for lunch alongside upperclassmen, it will assuredly bring more positive influence than negative to these young students.

A photo of the cafeteria where students eat lunch on campus. (Photo from gonzaga.org)

Eating lunch off-campus may seem like a small unnoteworthy privilege, but it helps students in ways that normal lunch cannot. Allowing lowerclassmen to eat lunch off campus will not only lead to more self-sufficient young men, but it will also help younger students relieve stress caused by the influx of more rigorous work than they are used to. Countless studies have pointed to the conclusion that providing students more opportunities to leave campus during a stressful day can lead to better mental health and more preparedness for the remaining classes throughout the day.

Making friends as an underclassmen in a new environment while also keeping up with the workload Gonzaga provides is a challenge for many. Allowing students the privilege of leaving campus to grab lunch will help solve this issue by allowing them to spend more time with one another off campus and ultimately form stronger relationships. 

In lieu of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, making this proposal possible in the near future will prove to be a challenge until it is safer for students to leave campus unaccompanied. However, as more students start to get vaccinated and social restrictions begin being lifted, implementing this change into the Gonzaga school day will prove to be a simple task. Although the administration might have to enforce some small guidelines to ensure the safety of every student, making this option available to lowerclassmen will almost certainly result in the positive mental growth and bonding of younger students.

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