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The average student's hazy impression of Dudley Hall, the commuters' center, is that it is something on the order of a combined rat-house and cafeteria. For outside of the commuters themselves, the preponderant majority of Harvard men has never set foot in the building.
Much more than an eating place to its several hundred non-resident members however, Dudley Hall is a base of operations for many college activities, sports and organizations as well as academic studies.
The first floor has a large common room equipped with magazines and chess boards, a study room, a radio and phonograph room, and the cafeteria itself. In the basement are a large locker room and a ping-pong room.
Only 60 Percent Are Members
Despite the fact that these facilities are open to any commuter for only ten dollars a year, only about 60 percent of Harvard's non-resident population belong to Dudley Hall. This circumstance is largely attributable to ignorance of the opportunities provided there. But it is just as well that there are no more members, because in its present crowded condition, Dudley Hall could not take care of them.
Dudley Hall has several advantages which the Houses do not and cannot ever have. One of the most important of these is that no student can be a "recluse" at the commuters' center, as is possible at a House. One cannot eat alone at Dudley, because there is not room enough.
With few overhead costs to meet, the Dudley self-service restaurant is able to provide members with food brought from the Union at prices well below the Union level.
A typical meal at Dudley consists of chicken croquettes, grean peas, mashed potatoes, rolls and butter, milk, and apple pie--and all for 30 cents. All of the meals are prepared at the Union together with the Union's regular noon day meals.
Each year, since its inauguration in 1935, Dudley Hall has been improved in both size and scope. The new scholarships for Massachusetts students which were announced a week ago will have little effect on the commuting situation itself. All that Dudley Hall needs now is more money to improve the building, and if some guardian angel were to provide that money, the commuter's problems would be greatly lessened.
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