UConn dining is a pillar of campus living and culture, with an extended legacy over many decades serving students. Northwest and McMahon — two dining halls in the armada of UConn dining locations — are synonymous with their late night dining options. Offering services until 10 p.m. is vital in order to meet the nutritional needs of students, especially during the time when scheduling around exams and schoolwork is the priority of most students.
For some strange reason, however, late night dining is not offered on Fridays and is only available Sunday through Thursday. Typically, UConn dining hours are 7 a.m.–7:45p.m, with the exception of Northwest and McMahon, where late night dining services are offered until 10 p.m. on designated days.
As a frequenter of the Northwest dining hall, I have found myself frustrated that dining services do not provide late night on Fridays. On Sundays, I generally never find myself needing to take advantage of the services because I, along with other students, are consumed with other personal matters on the weekend. For students, Sundays are less active and the need for late night dining on a given Sunday will always be trumped by the need for it on a Friday. I have cross-referenced my opinion with many other Northwest diners, who agree that Sunday’s late night dining should be moved to Friday.
Dining is vital to the nutrition and performance of UConn students. UConn ought to be providing its dining services for students whenever necessary. As it does Monday through Thursday, Friday must be included as a necessary day for late night dining.
Friday is still a weekday. Students have class and assignments due throughout the day, along with a myriad of other commitments. We should not have to schedule around the fact that we will not be able to eat at the dining hall after 7:30 p.m when it is open until 10p.m. onother weekdays. One can invoke the question that students deserve full late night access every day of the week, though the costs of meal plans easily warrant an argument for this. The first priority should be shifting late night dining to Friday night until considering the need for larger dining reforms.
Of course, one could peddle the theory that UConn has negotiated with local businesses to close their dining halls early to funnel money into these stores. It is not an unconvincing theory given the power structure of the Storrs community and the fact that UConn is the dominating economic force. Other revenue sources, like the points system and other consumption spending, generate additional food service revenue which will draw a pushback from UConn’s financial motivations.
UConn is a public university and must prioritize students’ needs for academic success. Imposing additional costs on food adds financial concerns to students and only serves to encumber students’ ability to perform well.
In the past, dining services have expressed their difficulty communicating with the student body. The poor scheduling of late night dining is an example of not only the need to fix dining hours, but exposes the need for expanded channels of communication between students and dining services.
Regardless of the behind-doors deals UConn might have made, students must always come first. We must hold the school accountable to the fact that dining must be at minimum moved from Sunday night to Friday night, as the necessity of having access to the dining hall throughout the school day is without question. Dining hall services ought to be open on Friday nights instead of Sunday.