Englar Dining Hall (GLAR) can be an intimidating place on campus for someone who is going in for the first time. Since it is the only dining hall on campus, almost every student that does not have an apartment with a kitchen finds themselves in GLAR at one point or another during the day. During Fall semester freshman year, this can be tough the first few times you go. Generally your First Year Seminar (FYS) sits together the first few times you go, but for me I was on my own after that. Luckily I made a friend, Andrew, who lived one floor above me in Rouzer Hall. We bonded over a mutual appreciation for Xbox and conveniently had classes at similar times so we were able to eat most meals together, which was nice.
Friendships tend to change during the beginning of freshman year and Andrew and I grew apart, but I made a new group of friends that came to include my best friends Jon, Sean, Jenn, Kelli, and Barnabas. We try to eat meals together when we can, which can be difficult. The best we do is a lunchtime somewhere in the range of 11am and dinner at about 5pm. We can usually manage to have at least a few of us together for meals if not all, which is really nice to have.
Seating is the next big thing you should know about GLAR. Many sports teams and organizations like to sit together. For example, Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity tends to sit right by the entrance in the first two or three round tables to the right. Next are the soccer teams, and occasionally field hockey (field hockey eats later than other teams). In the upper back of the first seating section, Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity and Lacrosse like to settle in. The center section usually has some randoms along the semi-circle table arrangement while baseball likes to take over the round tables.
Then we reach the far-side of GLAR where the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and some members of the swim team usually sit. Not excluded is the Football team who usually sits in the upper-back of the far-side. This where my friends and I find a free table. The far-side and the back portico are generally free from organizations, though the Phi Alpha Mu Sorority has been known to commandeer a few tables every now and the. Anyways this is where the independents of the McDaniel campus usually find a place to sit.
The seating habits that I have laid out here, granted, are intimidating. They might make a freshman feel as though the only way to fit in is to align yourself with some kind of organization or sports team. Honestly, this isn’t false. A large portion of the McDaniel community is aligned in some form of organization or sports team. However, I believe my friends and I (who together represent Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Phi Sigma Sigma Fraternity, the soccer team, the baseball team, and plenty of other on-campus organizations) embody the idea that while there may be exclusive groups on campus, the members of these groups do not need to be exclusively devoted to their respective groups all the time. Transversality is common and good friends will trump organizations every time…definitely when it comes to GLAR.