Maneuvering my way through the crowd of hungry high school students, I enter the Stu-Fac through the swinging doors. I find my way to the end of the line, which wraps around half the room. As the line moves and I inch closer and closer to the kitchen, the menu comes into view: “Roast Beef Ricotta Panini Sandwich.” The carpet changes to red tile, and soy sauce’s distinct smell wafts from the stir fry station. Drinks ranging from water to chocolate milk are on the counters, and students and faculty swarm the salad bar. Hot food and dessert are at the front, bagels are up ahead, cereal is on the other side of the room, and the panini press is in the corner; there are so many options, yet I find myself unsure of where to start. The choices are overwhelming, especially for a sophomore who has never truly experienced the Stu-Fac. Despite having several meal options, I decided to stay in line and stick with the sandwich featured on the menu. 

Bustling, lively, and interactive: these are all accurate descriptions of Concord Academy’s Stu-Fac. Although a returning sophomore should have graduated from being a newbie on campus, it did not feel like I had. Yes, I knew the essentials, like what bathrooms I should not use, but I still had so much more to explore. After being at a more “normal” CA for weeks, the Stu-Fac is an aspect I have come to love. Whether I’m having breakfast with a couple of friends in the morning or eating lunch at a packed table during the school day, I always find myself looking forward to the Stu-Fac’s vibrant ambiance. A constant buzz remains in the room as students make their way in and out, conversing with advisors, students, or other faculty. 

The flexibility of CA’s Stu-Fac is one of its key characteristics. There is the choice of dining indoors or outside on the Stu-Fac patio, a perfect place to enjoy your meal. The variety of food and beverages has been a prominent part of the Stu-Fac since my first day. There are various pastries, desserts, drinks, and main meals, including vegan and gluten-free options. Who you eat with varies from day to day as you are mixed with all grades, giving people the opportunity to hang out with closer friends or mingle with those you don’t see as often. Overall, the Stu-Fac is the perfect place to connect with others.