Whatever Happened To Common Hour?

     As a student at Suffolk County Community College, Common Hour was, in my estimation, one of the best things the college had implemented. Common Hour was held on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and was a time for students to come together and socialize, or to participate in clubs on campus. A couple clubs that Suffolk offers are Campus Activities Board (or CAB) and Student Government Association (or SGA). 

     Another club on campus is STARS, otherwise known as Students Against Rape and Sexual Assault. I am the president of STARS. As a club, we advocate for and support one another. As STARS, we get involved in other clubs and organizations, such as Take Back the Night (TBTN). 

     I started STARS in 2017, after I had been sexually assaulted myself. For years I was trying to figure out how to deal with what had happened. I still struggle to cope with it, but through creating the club, I found an outlet. It is a way for me to share my experience in a safe space.

     Common Hour was a time and place for me to hold my club, which gave me space to share my experience with others. It was a safe place to talk about the topic, and a space for me and other students to connect with each other. 

     Not only was Common Hour good for my club, but it also gave students a time in which they could relax and take a break from schoolwork during the day.

     Denny Teason, Director of Campus Activities on the Eastern campus, notes that Common Hour had started sometime in the 80s and was used for years to get students more involved on campus. Denny is one of the biggest advocates for reinstating Common Hour. Another advocate, Courtney Desmond, who is co-founder of PTK on the Eastern campus, wants to petition to bring Common Hour back. 

     At Suffolk, enrollment is down, and it is difficult to run a club with the lack of students on campus. However, if we brought Common Hour back, it would not only give students more time and reason to socialize, to get involved with clubs, and to participate in more campus events; but it would also bring more life to the college.

     I strongly believe that Common Hour needs to be reinstated for not only clubs and organizations, but also to give students a break from their academics and to socialize with one another. This is why staff, students and I say: bring Common Hour back!