Dodd NGB’s orchestration of a free, eco-friendly continental breakfast for its residents is just another step in transforming what was once considered the least desirable cluster on campus into one that is slowly becoming more coveted. Such steady improvement should be attributed to the NGB’s leaders, past and present. They have time and again made the best of the bad hand they were dealt to make their cluster as accommodating for its residents as possible. We applaud Dodd for its efforts.
When the cluster system was inaugurated in 2006, Dodd was arbitrarily assigned the highest proportion of doubles of any cluster. The following year, Dodd governance leaders amended the disparity by replacing 15 doubles with singles after conversations with the Office of Campus Life. And when Dodd Dining Hall – the neighborhood’s epicenter – stopped serving breakfast and lunch just as the cluster was being fenced off from the rest of campus in a massive construction footprint, NGB leaders underwent an exhaustive process to bring back breakfast for Dodd’s hungry residents.
Although the return of Dodd’s swipe-in breakfast was an initial success last spring, attendance dwindled by the end of the year, leading NGB leaders and Dining Services to reconsider its financial viability. Instead of giving up on breakfast, Dodd NGB President, Emily Behrman ’09, with the guidance of Chris Abayasinghe, assistant director of student dining, developed a free and sustainable self-service breakfast model for Dodd. It is too early to tell whether Doddians will take advantage of this new option, but we highly doubt that many residents will resist a quick, free meal to jumpstart their day. Further, it has the potential to boost Dodd’s presence on the campus map by drawing students in search of a free meal.
As the academic year begins, the Dodd NGB’s ability to cope with unfavorable conditions and innovate should serve as a reminder to other cluster leaders about the need to recognize their neighborhood’s flaws and do everything in their power to amend them. The cluster system is only three years old, and as NGBs develop into more influential representative bodies, students should likewise seek out their NGBs, and work together to find solutions to neighborhood problems. In order for all neighborhoods to create positive, student-led residential experiences, the initiative needs to go both ways.