Café Mac expects crowds during sampler

By Yenee Soh

Many of us have gone through the sampler weekend as prospective first-years: sleeping in the dorms on the floor in a sleeping bag, sitting in on a class, trying the cafeteria food, and getting an ice cream cone at the Grand Ole Creamery. Spending time on campus, it’s easy to notice when a sampler weekend is in session. Crowds of high school students and parents visit campus; the crowd is especially noticeable in Café Mac.

With an usually large freshman class, it’s already crowded in Café Mac. The number of fall samplers offered this semester has increased from two to three to accommodate prospective freshmen’s increasing interest in Macalester. The two original fall samplers will be held Oct. 2 and Oct. 16. Admissions has registered 82 prospective freshmen for Oct. 2 and including drop-ins, is expecting 100 prospective freshmen to show up, as well as 40-60 parents. Seventy-five prospective students are registered for Oct. 16 and admissions expects even more drop-ins because Minnesota school districts have the day off, due to the Education Minnesota Convention on Oct. 16. Historically, the second fall sampler is always the biggest, but with the addition of an Oct. 23 sampler, attendance could skyrocket.

The Admissions office is pleased to see increased interest in Macalester. There are approximately 150 to 400 prospective freshmen and parents on campus during the sampler days. Out of the students who attend the samplers, 50 percent actually enroll at Macalester. An increasing number of parents are attending the samplers, making it possible for students and parents to separate and participate in the various events planned for the sampler, sharing what they learned. This allows students to experience Macalester in many areas, to be part of school for a day.

With so many extra people on campus, once concern has surfaced among staff and students. How are we planning to accommodate all these students, especially in Café Mac? People have noticed that Café Mac is full even without the prospective freshmen. At brunch on the weekends, the lines form outside the doors of the Campus Center.

To address the crowds, admissions has strategically scheduled more events and campus tours during the noon hour, as well as strongly encouraged prospective freshmen and parents to attend noon-hour classes. The hope is that these changes will decrease the lunch line congestion.

“We also just mention to the prospective students that from 11:50 to 12:45 Café Mac is almost impossible to navigate and we have really encouraged them to come earlier or later,” said Nora Main, Assistant Director of Admission.

Main explained that Doug Rosenberg, Director of Budget and Institutional Services has worked with Bon Appétit staff to keep Café Mac open until 2 p.m. on Sampler Fridays.

There may be no drastic solution to help accommodate all the students on campus and to ameliorate the traffic around lunchtime, but the Admissions office is working on making it better for both the Macalester community and the newcomers.

“We should welcome as many students that show interest in our school. We rely so much on the generosity and the flexibility of the professors and students. We completely understand the additional burden that’s placed upon the campus community, but we’re so grateful that the community is encouraging the events, are open-minded and welcome the students. In the end of it all it is for the benefit for all,” said Main.