Rant of the Week: The Star’s Less-Than-Stellar Design


A meme made by students joking about the stress of seating in the Star.

When Moravian College announced last year that it was renovating both the Marketplace and Blue & Grey Café, I, like many students, rejoiced.

I was especially excited for the Marketplace’s renovation. While I was usually more accepting of the quality of the food than other students, I did feel that the Marketplace sorely needed more options. Luckily, the renovated Marketplace, now called “The Star,” delivered on more food options.

What it did not deliver on, however, was good interior design.

The Marketplace didn’t have the greatest design, but it worked well enough. All the food stations sat toward the front end of the cafeteria, with seating in the middle and back. I was fond of what my friends and I called “the Fish Bowl” the somewhat isolated side portion of the campus restaurant.

There was nothing wrong with the main portion of the Marketplace, but it wasn’t the greatest for someone who didn’t like sitting at tables in the middle of a crowd. The Fish Bowl provided the ideal alternative to that.

What I found upon my first arrival to the Star was a radical redesign that left a lot to be desired.

The food stations were scattered about the area. Some things, such as the soda machines and the Sustainable Table, stayed relatively close to their original positions. The salad bar and milk machines were moved to the far back wall, the opposite of their original locations, though. Everything was a lot more spread out.

At first, the far distance between food stations didn’t annoy me much. I always get breakfast at 8:00 a.m. in the Star on weekdays, and there aren’t many people in there that early. The biggest inconvenience was having to walk the entire length of the Star to first get my coffee and then get a bowl of cereal or oatmeal every morning.

At more crowded times, such as lunch or dinner, however, the Star becomes an entirely different monster.

The distance between food stations becomes a larger problem when the room is full of people. While moving from station to station, I cannot help but feel like I am always in someone’s way.

The main portion of the Star becomes an echo chamber with many people there, as well. To avoid the loud volume of the main area, some might move to the side area that was once the enclosed Fish Bowl. It is no longer a Fish Bowl, however, and is open to the loud main portion of the Star, with only a wall separating the two. Other people have also caught on to the appeal of this side area as well, and it is now almost always full during lunch or dinner hours.

At least for me, bobbing and weaving between people is not too bad, and I’m only doing it for a short amount of time. When I am ready to leave the Star, though, things get a bit tougher.

The area where you put your dirty dishes is usually blocked by people waiting for their food at the grill or, if it is breakfast, people waiting for bagels.

This is the only way to get to the dish deposit as well. The wall in front of this dish deposit serves only to keep the festering smell of food and dirty dishes blocked in this area. Due to this smell, I am always sure to put my dishes on the shelf and immediately get out of there, leaving both the smell and poor design of the Star behind.

While the food has improved, the interior design of the Star is problematic. Hopefully, the next redesign of campus dining rectifies these problems and improves the campus dining experience instead of detracting from it.