College students spend their weeks following a regimen of classes, mixed up with activities, assignments, and a little sleep now and then. Weekends are meant to be a time for rest and relaxation, where students can catch up on work and spend some time with friends. They are also a brief period where students are free from the regimen of the rest of the week. So if the weekend is meant to be time away from strict schedules, why is it that weekend dining services do not reflect that?On the weekend, Montgoris dining hall closes at 7:30 p.m., an hour earlier than during the week. The c-store closes two hours early, at 11 p.m.
Unfortunately, students do not all run on an earlier schedule on weekends. In fact, most students get up, go out, and eat much later on their days off. It only makes sense that dining services should be available later as well.
Now, this does not mean that the dining halls have to be open all day. This would not make sense, since fewer students are on campus over the weekend.
Yet, a compromise could definitely be made that allows both early and late risers to have meals on campus. Montgoris could open at its usual time, and then close during the slow afternoon hours. Then, it could reopen at dinner time and stay open for a few extra hours.
This type of system is not unheard of, either. Other campuses in the area, such as Columbia, offer late night dining, with the dining facilities remaining open as late as 4 a.m.
The c-store, also known as the Hungry Johnny, however, is a different kind of on-campus facility. Serving as a local convenience store, it allows students to spend meal plan points on food and drinks to stock their dorm rooms. Now, the whole idea of convenience is that one can get what they need when they need it. Closing the c-store early on weekends does not really accomplish that.
St. John’s has been trying to foster an active weekend life on campus for years, with a calendar full of sports games, concerts, and free trips to movies, museums, and the theater. Every weekend, residents are reminded by email that “there’s plenty to do at St. John’s.” Offering extended dining hours would only serve to further that goal because students would not be forced to leave campus to find a place to eat.
Another good idea would be to build a late night fast food restaurant near the resident village. Every night, on weekdays as well as weekends, students travel off-campus to places like Dunkin’ Donuts or 7-11 in order to get something to eat. Having a fast food place close to the dorms would draw those students instead, serving as a convenience for students as well as a profitable venture for the University.
As things are now, students are forced off-campus whenever they want to eat past the hours of 7:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. A simple shift of hours or a late night fast food facility could foster a much livelier campus life on weekends, which would definitely be beneficial for a growing university that will have a new addition of on-campus housing, and therefore resident students, next year.
Until then, there is still plenty to do at St. John’s this weekend, but unfortunately, there isn’t plenty to eat.