Homer Babbidge Library, is the most centrally located, consistently open library on the Storrs campus. The Pharmacy and Music & Dramatic Arts Libraries have even more limited hours, and neither one rents out laptops or has the resources that Babbidge has.
Homer Babbidge has had a few recurring issues during my time at UConn. One problem is never knowing if you will be able to check out a book. The self-checkout has consistently had issues functioning. The last two months it has not worked at all; if you need to check something out after 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, you cannot because the iDesk staff are currently the only ones that can check out books. What is the point of a library if it does not serve its primary purpose?
The library hours also are not amenable to most students’ studying habits on campus. There is no building that is open 24/7 for students to study. Bookworms Café, the cafe workspace in the library, in addition to a small quiet study space room and the front lobby together provide enough room for roughly a hundred students to study, which is not adequate space for being the only study spaces available 24/7 for UConn’s student body. Nor does it have access to any of the books in the library or most of the library resources. Many students use the dozens of monitors set up in the library, along with over 20 laptops you can rent out. There are just six desktops set up in Bookworms, all of which were in use last night when I was there until 3 a.m.
The library closes at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and does not open until 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning. The weekly hours for the library are 7:30 a.m. until 2 a.m., which to the public might seem like it covers the range during which most people would be studying. However, many college students wake up earlier than 7 a.m. for early morning classes and would study in the library before then if afforded the opportunity. Each night when the library closes at 2 a.m., the remaining students get kicked out of the library.
Another considerable hindrance on the UConn community is the lack of adequate and consistent access to not only food but healthy food options.
Some progress has been made on this front in the creation of the Husky Harvest pantry to ensure that off campus students along with all members of the UConn community that are struggling with food insecurity have access to food. Prior to Husky Harvest, the initiative in place to tackle food insecurity, Husky Market, was created by the Undergraduate Student Government.
The responsibility of issues impacting large portions of the undergraduate student population should be addressed by the Board of Trustees who have the resources and the power, not student-run organizations or UConn Dining.
Students on campus that have meal plans covered by financial aid or that have differing levels of food insecurity should be able to access food at most hours of the day.
Dining hall hours vary like the library hours. To an extent, there are late night options at McMahon and Northwest Sunday through Thursday, where they stay open until 10 p.m. instead of 7:15 p.m.
However, there are no late night options at dining halls over the weekend. The late night food options are limited and often unhealthy and lack nutritional value, like tater tots, burgers and pizza. This can lead to increased health problems that are unavoidable if your only source of food is provided by your college meal plan.
All dining halls are closed at 3 p.m. The lack of consistent access to food not only negatively impacts students’ ability to get school work done, but it “is also a detriment to college students’ health,” according to a Front Public Health article on the NIH website. With this knowledge, it is clear that UConn needs to prioritize students’ health.
If UConn wants to continue to hold its place and even advance as a top Public Research University in the country, the university should work to expand library hours and increase access to nutritious food to ensure that students can do their best to excel academically.
Angela Ramirez is so cool and right