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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Student union staff aims to increase seating in Pangea using new table-toppers

Gabriela Diaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Student union staff are working to improve a seating issue in Pangea.

Most students have experienced that moment of despair after receiving food at the Student Union Memorial Center, when they realize that finding a seat is going to be impossible. Now staff are trying to help students by providing triangle table-toppers that students can flip around to signal to others that they are willing to share their table.

Pangea is trying out the table-toppers first to see how it works; if it does, Sabor will begin using them as well, said Todd Millay, marketing manager for Arizona Student Unions.

The green side of the table-topper lets others know it’s okay to sit at the table; the word “open” is written in large letters on the green side. If students flip the table-topper to the red side that reads “full,” others know not to sit down. The table-toppers were introduced right after spring break so that students would have something new when they came back, Millay added.

“We’re hoping over the course of a month, students will start to notice that we’ve put these up. I think right now they’re not quite noticing them,” Millay said. “And you know what, this is college, so we thought we would try to experiment to see if students would make a new friend and let somebody sit with them.”

Some students said they noticed the signs but didn’t use them.

“I noticed it,” said Jacquelyn Hinek, a psychology freshman. “But I figured even if I saw someone switch it up, I would still ask because maybe they didn’t notice it.”

Other students did use the table-topper to show that others were invited to sit down this them.

Rebecca Peiffer, an undeclared freshman, flipped her table-topper to the green side, “mostly because I feel bad taking a whole booth for myself,” Peiffer said. “I feel like if other people want to sit here, why not?”

The idea originated as a way to solve the issue of the lack of seating at Pangea and Sabor. Part of the problem is that many of the employees are students, and it’s difficult for supervisors to tell employees to ask their fellow students to move, Millay said.

“The challenge of going to Sabor or going to Pangea is it’s just crowded; there are so many students and not enough seating,” Millay said. “So one of the things that we’ve noticed by observing is that they’ll [students] be in the restaurants and plop their stuff down, throw their laptop up and they will take a four-top. So they’re sitting at a booth by themselves and there are people that are trying to eat — so where do we sit them?”

Some students agreed that it is difficult to find seats around lunchtime.

“It is [hard to find seats]. When I first walked in, I was nervous because everything was full and I thought I was going to have to take it [my food] to go,” Hinek said.

If the idea fails, then the student union will just throw the signs away, Millay said.

“We’re just brainstorming, and this may or may not work,” Millay said. “We’ll be curious to find out.”

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