Brittain Dining Hall and Campus Life
Brittain Dining Hall is the only dining hall on Georgia Tech's East campus, directly east of Bobby Dodd Stadium, as well as the first dining hall to be opened on the Tech campus. It derives its name from Marion L. Brittain, President of Georgia Tech from 1921 to 1944.
Compulsory Meal Plan Protest
On March 7, 1950, Georgia Tech President Blake R. Van Leer suggested a new meal plan for all dormitory students. This plan would require every student residing in the dorms to pay $105 dollars for the meals served at the Brittain Dining Hall at the start of each quarter. It was estimated that this would save students one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars on meals through the course of the year. The plan was also intended to promote regular eating habits among students. Participation was to be required for all dormitory students, while commuters would have been able to opt in.
Protest Against the Plan
In response to the new meal plan, there was a large turnout of students at the Student Council meeting to discuss the plan. Because of this turnout, the meeting needed to be adjourned to the Tech YMCA auditorium. The student body was heavily opposed to the plan, citing reasons such as the fact that even fraternity members would be forced to eat at the dining hall instead of at their fraternity houses which would ruin the investment in the fraternity kitchens and the increasing amount of students that would have to be in the dining hall at the same time, preventing students from eating quickly.
Revision to the Plan
The compulsory meal plan was quickly revised to include only freshmen, who were already required to stay in the dorms. The exception to this rule was freshmen who had pledged to a fraternity, in which case they would be able to eat at their fraternity instead of Brittain Dining Hall. The Student Council agreed to the compromise.
Addition by the Classes of 1930 and 1929
The first memorial window, at the south end of the dining hall, was added to the Brittain Dining Hall during the initial creation of the building. Julian H. Harris, a student from the Class of 1928, won a competition with her design of the stained-glass window. The window was constructed by Lamb Stained Glass Studies, New York, was completed in 1932, and cost a total of $3,300. This window represents the various disciplines of Georgia Tech, the U.S. Army and Navy, and Georgia Tech's athletics.
Addition by the Class of 1971
In 1996, the 25th anniversary of the Class of 1971, it was suggested that a second memorial window be donated. This window would be on the north side of the dining hall, opposite the first. As with the first window, a contest was held for a student to design the new window, dubbed the “Window for a New Era”. This time, Toni Larson, a senior electrical engineer at the time, won the contest. Her plan, titled “Georgia Tech: Yesterday, Today, and Beyond,” depicts important structures on campus, including Tech Tower, Bobby Dodd Stadium, and the Kessler Campanile. Another panel of the window represents NASA, while yet another depicts the U.S. Army again. Also included in the window are the engineering fields and a tribute to the 1996 Summer Olympics, which was an important even to Georgia Tech. While Larson received $2,000 for her victory, the window was expected to cost $300,000, and gathering funding for this caused considerable delays.
- A Big Mistake. The Technique, March 1950, Vol 34 No.9 Page 4.
- An Equitable Solution. The Technique, March 1950, Vol 34 No.11 Page 4.
- Additions to Memorial Window Beautify Dining Hall. Georgia Tech Alumnus, Nov.-Dec. 1932, Page 25.
- Administration Announces Eating Plan; Dorm Occupants Will Eat in Dining Hall. The Technique, March 1950, Vol 34 No.9 Page 1.
- Techmen Protest Order To Patronize Dining Hall. Atlanta Journal, 8 March 1950.
- Window contest decided. The Technique, 8 November 1996, Page 2.