Lunch Lounge offers welcoming, relaxed space



Students work on homework in the Lunch Lounge, room 277. The Lunch Lounge was created this year to be a friendly and quiet space to socialize or work.

Games played. Pizza eaten. New connections made. Another successful day in the Lunch Lounge.

The Lunch Lounge is a lunchtime space dedicated to providing students with a quiet and relaxing place to eat, away from the buzz of the cafeteria and overflow. It’s a place where students can connect with one another in a more welcoming way by playing games, or by talking.

The Lunch Lounge takes place every day in room 277 at the 115 Greenough campus during both lunch blocks. It is also offered at OLS in room 107 on Wednesdays. Attendance generally ranges between three and 10 students depending on the day and the lunch block.

According to Lunch Lounge co-founder and Guidance and Counseling coordinator Darby Neff-Verre, the project has been in the works for quite some time.

“I’ve been here at Brookline High for five years and in my second year, I started seeing students sitting off by themselves,” Neff-Verre said. “Working with other clinicians and staff in the building, we were finding that students were having lunch off in nooks and crannies, and sometimes even in bathroom stalls. It was clear that students weren’t comfortable going to the cafeteria, or felt overwhelmed by the vibe there.”

Neff-Verre believes that the goal of Lunch Lounge is to ensure that students feel cared for by the administration.

“It’s about acknowledging the students and asking how their day was and just noting that they are important and special human beings in this place that’s awfully big,” Neff-Verre said. “I think it’s just appreciating humanness and that people are people.”

Social worker and Lunch Lounge co-founder Kate Lipman said that it features a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

“There’s a group vibe that feels more like a community, which doesn’t tend to exist in the cafeteria,” Lipman said. “People are discrete entities, but the Lunch Lounge is a shared space, where people are dipping in and out of the conversation, dipping in and out of games with one another. It feels a lot more communal.”

According to sophomore Gabe Kramer, who comes to the Lunch Lounge twice a week, it is a perfect place to relax and be with friends.

“It’s a very positive space where you can bring anything or anyone you want,” Kramer said. “It’s a nice place that more people should know about.”

Sophomore Paul Marc Del Gallo Jr. has been to the Lunch Lounge a couple of times and has had a great experience.

“It’s sort of like the quad, but it’s indoors and it’s not freezing,” Del Gallo said. “It’s not crowded, and the pizza’s good when it’s served once a month. It’s very welcoming, and the teachers are great.”

Lipman said that although the Lunch Lounge hasn’t been around for a long time, it’s a great opportunity to meet and interact with new people in a more communal environment.

“My biggest hope for the Lunch Lounge is that it’ll have enough people coming regularly and feeling like it gives them a chance to socialize in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise,” Lipman said. “That they look forward to it, it builds a culture of its own, and that it really helps solidify some friendships that expand outside of the lunchtime.”