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Noon at the Wilk

12:09 PM

In the Ballroom, 20 couples practiced the cha-cha. In the Garden Court, students received neon-colored bandages after giving blood. On the first floor, people lined up at the office to send letters and packages, and on the fifth floor, the NewsNet team presented it daily 12 o’clock broadcast.

It’s no surprise that the Ernest L. Wilkinson Student Center, or the Wilk, is a hub of campus activity, from book buying to hair cutting. But as the morning approaches noon, there’s only one reason to be in the Wilk—to eat.

The Cougareat is home to seven restaurants, a bakery/creamery, and a convenience store. Hungry people stand in lines that snake out into the middle of the Cougareat floor. Student employees rapidly take and fill orders, serving about 8,500 customers each day.

After getting lunch, students face the question of where to sit: near the Bookstore entrance where lunch-goers are guaranteed to see someone they know, on the south end of the seating area where it’s usually quiet enough to study, or in the Terrace where student musicians entertain the crowds, as Nate A. Barnes (’06) did on Sept. 22. Of course, during the noon hour in the ever-busy Wilk, it may be more a matter of an open table than the atmosphere.