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Many benefits to a longer lunch

Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 02:04

The DePauw Student Government recently passed a white paper to extend the lunch hour. Although the faculty will not be directly dealing with this issue immediately, we hope the faculty and administration will consider this proposal, as we believe it could have many unintended and beneficial consequences.

It's rare that a small change, like tacking 30 minutes on to the lunch hour, could have such a dramatic positive impact with minimal negative fallout, but we think this might be such a case.

Adding 30 minutes to the end of the day would simply mean classes end at 4:30 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., and many athletic practices start shortly after the end of classes. Maybe we're over simplifying things, but if we adjust our clocks by an hour for daylight saving, it shouldn't be too much more complicated to alter our schedules by a half hour — especially if it means we can use the time between our morning and afternoon classes to do a bit more than fight the mob at the Hub or dash to our greek houses.

The reasons outlined in the white paper for this change in scheduling are outcomes that would logically flow. The tone of the paper is that if we have more time, we'll have more time.

That does mean more time to attend a speaker event. That also means more time for an organization to meet during the lunch hour rather than cramming one more meeting into Tuesday night.

We understand extending the lunch hour won't make the 11:30 a.m. explosion at the Hub go away, but at the very least, a longer lunch hour might make the lunch hour a bit more manageable or less-stressful for the students and staff.

The primary benefit we see is that 90 minutes would allow the lunch hour to be used for more than a less-than-leisurely lunch. Whether that time goes to running a few errands, sending a few pesky emails or attending a very worthwhile speaker, the whole is likely to be greater than the sum of its parts. It's a small change with a potentially huge payoff.

We only caution that different lunch hours on different days of the week might complicate the very problems the Tuesday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday arrangements seek to solve. So, perhaps a uniform lunch hour throughout the week would be best, even if we'd prefer 90 minutes.

But as for a longer lunch hour, we think The Beach Boys say it best: "Wouldn't it be nice?"

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