Thank you, Gregg, for this article. It brought back fond memories of Commons for me. 

Commons was a very democratizing meal system. Since everyone entered the dining hall on a random basis and all were seated at long tables in the order in which they entered, one was apt to be seated next to or across from a student whom he had not otherwise met. You could be seated next to the captain of the freshman basketball team or the class president.  

I also enjoyed working in Commons. While I could carry trays of food or dirty dishes on my shoulder (including up and down steps) with the best of them, I much preferred sweeping and mopping the dining hall floor after each meal. I was paid for an hour's work even if I finished in 50 minutes!

Later generations of students missed a great experience, in my opinion, when the residential colleges took over and Commons was eliminated.   

Arthur Dicker ’70
San Diego, Calif.