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ssaludades's picture

There is a sense of belonging when it comes to one’s class. People from the same class usually hold a shared understanding of certain values, lifestyles. Being with these people from the same class who can understand these aspects about an individual can provide that individual with a sense of comfort and natural companionship. It’s feelings like this that helps to develop a sense of community and ‘home’. 

In consideration to this, in approaching this essay I began to think of what my home meant to me and where I could find it at Bryn Mawr. At my ‘actual’ home, the meal time acted as a valuable retreat for my family. At the table, we would detach from what happened in our external lives and bring the focus to this communal moment. Thus, I decided to write about how mealtime contributes to the relationships within a class and affects interactions between classes and how the space is utilized to foster this growth.

Overall, I discussed how the dining hall’s structured space encourages the forging of relationships and fosters community. People naturally configure themselves at the table so they are open to new ideas and the people around them, Being at the same eye level, there is no physical power hierarchy, but rather a connection between one’s equals. Thus the space allows people to use the meal as  an opportunity for conversation to share experiences and get to know people beyond one’s perceptions and differences in regards to class; however, although the physical space may encourage openness and physical equality between people of the same class, class boundaries can be created subconsciously as people from the same class habitually sit together and discourages the mixing of different friend groups and in turn, classes. This can lead to the detriment of dispersing social and human capital because networks are forming only within the classes and knowledge unique to class is not being exchanged with other classes at different tables.