April 13, 2010

Made to order

Aramark fulfills long-standing student request for late-night dining

From Monday through Thursday this week, Aramark will be offering late-night dining on a trial basis at Hutch Commons. In addition to standard pizza and grill options, breakfast choices like French toast sticks and biscuits with gravy will be available from 9 p.m. to midnight. This trial is a welcome first step and, with a few small changes, could be a very successful addition to campus life.

Students often lament the lack of late-night dining options around Hyde Park, but that very problem also presents an opportunity for Housing and Dining Services to create a social space that is inviting to all parts of the campus community. Currently, the University lacks the kinds of events and venues that unify the student bodies of other schools. Annual events like Summer Breeze and Scav provide some semblance of that unity, but a late-night dining option in the middle of campus would be a year-round, common social space for students, whether they’re first-years or fourth-years, live in dorms or off-campus, or are coming from the A-Level or Alpha Delt. Chicago students may never all join the same clubs, party in the same places, or rally around their sports teams like students elsewhere, but most of us are still up at midnight, and we all love French toast sticks.

Since this initiative contributes to the goal of improving social life on campus, profitability should not be the sole standard used to determine whether late-night service continues. If the 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. mealtime does not prove profitable, the University could still consider subsidizing a late- night dining option as a service to the campus community.

If profitability is to be the metric of late-night dining’s success, the timing of this trial might not capture the enterprise’s full potential. Students studying at the Reg or partying would likely arrive well past midnight; in the world of late-night dining, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. is the early bird special. Extending the service past midnight and including weekends would better reflect student demand for late-night dining.

But whatever the issues with this trial run may be, any student who has ever been frustrated or annoyed with late-night dining in Hyde Park should eat late at least once this week, if only to show Aramark and the administration that this is a service Chicago students want. Go early, go often, and we’ll see you there.

— The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief and Viewpoints Editors.