WTAMU revises campus wide lunch break


Senate Chamber, WTAMU – Oct. 25, 2021: Student senators and Student Judicial Board chief justice pack up and leave an eventful meeting after discussing scooters on campus, class time changes, changes to the student constitution and other topics covered during the meeting.

West Texas A&M University student government and Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Neil Terry conducted a student survey, which ended Oct. 26, 2021, to determine the best actions to tackle the gaps in classroom utilization on campus.

The solution that the provost and student government came up with was the changing of the 12:15-1:30 p.m. lunch break to two 45 minute breaks. The first break would be from 12:15-1 p.m. and the second being from 2:15-3:00 p.m.

“Most universities don’t have (the lunch break), they run back to back to back, we have this time already,” said Bryan Garcia, student body president, during the meeting with the student senate on Monday.

The current lunch break of an hour and half does not exist for any other A&M system university. These other institutions have no break and most students have classes during this time. These crunches for the lunch break come at the behest of the Texas Legislature and the education code, the utilization of the facilities on high education campuses.

“We had over 1000 people respond to our survey,” said Emma Weinheimer, student senator for the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, when discussing the changes to the student organizations usage of the lunch break.

The survey asked questions about which class times would work better, the student organizations involvement in the lunch break and a few other class times to find the right fit of information to provide to Terry for consideration of the students’ perspectives.

“All the responses are going to show him and the faculty that students want to take any classes as they want to be done earlier in the day,” said Paige Holbrooks, student senator for the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, when discussing the student survey results. “As far as class time goes to that one o’clock, if we add more sections that might help with the classroom utilization.”

These earlier class times were previously not pushed as much due to the bias that college students don’t like earlier class times. College students are willing to take these 8:00 a.m. classes because we have busy schedules and would like to get done earlier in the day.

“Students want to be able to go to work and get out early in the day,” said Zyna Abujuma, freshman senator. “A lot of my friends and people that I’ve talked to have heard this alignment, which they would rather take at 8:00 a.m. than a 3:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m.”

Close to half of all college students in the US work at least 20 hours a week and these changes, which are to be decided at a town hall on Nov.16, will be implemented starting in the 2023 fall semester.

“This change will demonstrate that we are making an attempt to get better at (classroom utilization),” Garcia said.