Mercersburg Magazine - Summer 2017

Page 26







TUCKED AWAY AT THE FAR SIDE of the dining hall, our table is quite the sight during a Monday-night dinner. As everyone else is adorned in suit and tie and other semiformal attire, our dresses and heels are nowhere to be found. Instead, the four of us don a set of casual clothing: sweatpants, T-shirts, sneakers, and—when the meal comes to an end—a single blue apron and a set of plastic gloves designating each of us as dining hall mugwumps. The job is almost as strange as the name sounds. Our table of four is placed closest to the kitchen, relatively out of sight as everyone else enjoys lunch or dinner. At certain points during and after the meal, though, we jump into action: clearing napkins, banana peels, and apple cores off trays; sorting items between compost and trash; stacking plates before they’re placed in a dishwasher;

By C.J. Walker ’17

assisting in getting pies and cakes out of the kitchen fast enough for other tables awaiting their dessert. These are all daily duties we undertake, working alongside the SAGE Dining staff and helping ensure everything ends up where it needs to be. This aspect of the Mercersburg dining experience functions on a volunteer basis that permeates throughout campus. As the rest of the student body switches every two weeks from one table of 10 to another, we transition back and forth between regular table assignments and our specialized table of four, sharing duties with other student volunteers who sign up for the job. By the spring term, though, sitting at a regular table and being part of the normal table rotation feels more awkward than my place at our table of four. Returning to the mugwump table after a twoweek hiatus, I am not just excited for the chance to escape the pres-

C.J. Walker ’17 (second from left) with her fellow mugwumps Maddi Jones ’17, Isiuwa Oghagbon ’17, and Rebecca Li ’17