On a typical school night, you and your friends finish class and want to grab whatever they’re serving up at The Commons. You wrap up a 3-hour class and get there at 7 p.m., just to be asked to leave 30 minutes later.
Students have been complaining about The Commons not staying open late enough this year in comparison to years past. It’s not so much about having food options available after 7:30 p.m., but that it’s no longer a space for students to hangout and do homework in the evenings.
Currently, The Commons begins serving dinner at 5 p.m. and stops serving at 7:30 p.m. At this time, they start to turn off the lights and ask students to leave. The Pilot House opens for lunch at 11 a.m. and remains with full food availability until midnight, switching to dinner and late-night choices throughout the day.
Freshman biology major Sarah Ponce and many of her friends are vegetarian and say they get tired of the food that the Pilot House has to offer. While Ponce has never experienced getting “kicked out” of The Commons, she and her friends start to feel awkward when workers are closing and decide to find somewhere else to hangout.
“The Pilot House can get really busy in the evening and there are just no more seats,” Ponce said. “Keeping The Commons open later would add a lot more space in the evenings.”
Additionally, the bar area of the Pilot House is closed off to students under 21 after 8 p.m., further reducing the available seating.
Freshman undeclared major Kilin Ung says he generally tries to find space in the Pilot House to hang out with friends or do homework, otherwise he is relegated to staying in his dorm room.
“The Commons is a really big space so they should have it open for students to use, do group projects and hangout,” Ung said. “They should at least have the doors unlocked to use, and we could have game space on the big tables.”
While some students just want the doors to be unlocked, Bon Appetit Supervisor Kirk Mustain says it’s not that simple. Mustain pointed out that they would have to keep the space supervised, and schedule and pay workers to do so.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Alan Timmins, who would allocate the money for this supervision, said he was unaware of these student concerns, but now plans to look into possible solutions.
Sophomore biology major Ariana Giblin said she has been asked to leave The Commons when employees close up. Giblin says she thinks it’s okay to stop serving food at a certain time, but asking everyone to leave so shortly after is an “inconvenience”.
“We understand that they stop serving food at 7:30 and that's totally okay, but it would be nice if students were able to stay and hang out in the cafeteria past 8 p.m.,” Giblin said.
She added: “Dinner is the time when you check in with friends and talk about your days,” pointing out that this important time with friends is being cut short.