No matter where students find themselves at night, if it’s later than 9 p.m., there will be a guaranteed struggle to find decent food. Dining halls, the main source of nutrition for half of the student body, stop serving at 8 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 7 p.m. on Friday. Most restaurants in the area close shop not much later. Unfortunately, students coming home from a weekend party or taking a study break during finals have no late-night sanctuary save for the McDonald's drive-through or Dunkin' Donuts on 53rd and 52nd Streets. But recently, dining administrators have taken the biggest steps in years to address these problems, and we believe they’re set up to tackle one of the largest shortcomings of campus life.
Perhaps the most praiseworthy of these plans is the new pilot program for “Fourth Meal” starting next week, when South Campus Dining Hall will stay open until midnight. The program will replace late-night dining at Hutch and will offer the same breakfast food, as well as smoothies. But its greatest strength is that it allows students to use meal swipes. When dining services coerces students into unlimited meal plans, it’s only right to offer food at times that meet student needs. Having South Campus–and Pierce during eighth week–open until midnight will put an end to rushing towards the dining halls at the first sign of sunset, and won’t force students eating past 8 o’clock into buying pre-made food from a coffee shop.
But thanks to one other University initiative, students–especially those living off-campus–will have another place to go to late-night eating. The University announced Monday that Clarke’s, a 24-hour diner, will open in Harper Court later this year, joining Five Guys and Whole Foods, which are also slated to open in the same area. Although the University’s decision to buy and redevelop Harper Court, located around 53rd Street and Harper Avenue, was not without controversy, pushing for projects like Clarke’s shows that administrators are working towards the interest of students, trying to fill gaps that have existed in Hyde Park for decades.
These projects are bold attempts to find solutions through unique avenues–their success is anything but sure. Prioritizing student needs over financial success is the way the University should be evaluating relatively small projects like these. For years, there has been a hole in campus life that matches the size of the holes in our stomachs. But now it seems like the University is ready to fill them up.
The Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional editorial board member.