If you’re looking for a place to eat lunch on campus, the Huntington Library is no longer an option.
At the start of the semester, SCCC students were notified about a new ‘Snacks, Not Meals’ policy that only allows vending machine bag-sized chips and drinks in sealed containers (i.e. lids, bottle caps).
While there is no actual penalty to enforce the measure, students who slip in meals are asked to finish eating outside the building, and signs reminding students about the policy are plastered around the library.
The initiative started out of a focus group of nine students that campus head librarian Susan Lieberthal conducted last December to consider ways to improve studying at the library.
The group found a common issue: the number of meals being brought into the library. The students were handed index cards and logged everything they found lying around that was food-related. The results included bags from Moe’s Southwest Grill filling up the trash can, sushi near the computers, sandwiches and boxes of Cheez-Its. They even came upon a live birthday party with cakes and balloons.
“We don’t have any boundaries anymore,” said Lieberthal, noting that she and the focus group noticed food was a major distraction in the library and that it was becoming a second cafeteria. “You have your phone, your laptop, your work and your food. You’re not really studying anymore with all these distractions.”
Armed with their research, they knew what had to be done. They considered banning food altogether, as the new library at the new Grant campus library has done. But they opted for something in between o help some students.
More than a month into the semester, the policy is quickly being adopted by students.
“I feel like this had to be done for a good reason, but it really doesn’t bother me,” said Matt Walsh, 19, a liberal arts major.
Some students say they understand the reason for the policy, but also see why students have brought food to the library.
“I understand it and it makes sense as to why they don’t want meals near equipment. But people have full days and a very limited time to eat,” said 19-year-old liberal arts major Skylar Shagan.
According to Lieberthal, there hasn’t been any big incidents since the policy was announced and really hopes this does improve the quality of studying for Suffolk Students.
“I just want what’s best for the students and the library,” Lieberthal said