Common Hour Gone Wrong

In an attempt to unite the campus, University of Puget Sound established one hour every week from noon-1:00pm, locally known on campus as “Common Hour”.

This time of the day is supposed to be an hour in which no classes happen in order to allow faculty, staff, and students alike to bond and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest and perhaps mingle over a hot cup of joe in Diversions Cafe. Burnt tongues aside, there are other consequences of the joyous hour.

Firstly, since there are no scheduled classes during Common Hour, it seems nearly every club or department decides to host an event for the campus to be able to attend. The trouble with this is that there are too many options for consumers. Tastes and preferences may be over stimulated and lead to consumer confusion affecting their utility optimization decision potentially leading to inefficiency.

On the same note of scheduling activities during Common Hour, meetings and practices are commonly scheduled during Common Hour. This then negates the purpose of Common Hour in the way that people may be no less busy, hence no better off than they would be if Common Hour did not exist.

Lastly (and most importantly): the SUB (Student Union Building). The excess amount of consumers roaming through the cafeteria at the same time causes lines to form that wrap around the posts and walls. The time each consumer spends in line is nearly twice as long as any other time in the day, this is unproductive time that could be more efficiently used if not for the negative externality of long lines caused by Common Hour. This inefficient use of time increases stress, knowing there is always something to be done as the academics here are extremely rigorous. As well as this, the spike in traffic increases the probability of accidents, spilled soup is no stranger during Common Hour, once again creating efficiency in the cafeteria as resources will have to be used to clean up and replace the lost soup – a true Logger travesty.

Common Hour, as you can see has its downfalls, but Loggers somehow survive every Wednesday.


3 Replies to “Common Hour Gone Wrong”

  1. Additionally, the common hour is really the common “hour and a half” from the faculty perspective. Schedulers heavily discourage classes which would meet on Wednesdays between Noon and 1:30. Given that MWF classes meet for 50 minutes, starting on the hour, this means that effectively 2 hours are off-limits for scheduling classes for all 3-day-a-week classes, which are a large portion of our classes. Consequently, the 2pm hour has become overwhelmed with course offerings, with the result that classroom space is unavailable and class sizes are small since students have so many courses to choose from. Unexpected effects are real and costly!!

  2. This is a typical flaw in the bureaucracy. Implementing something after (likely) years of “strategic” planning and research at an enormous cost and then failing to observe the downfalls before taking twice the amount of time to make any positive changes. I see this type of thing every day in the bureaucracy we call “campus” and it makes me sick.

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