It’s Saturday night. I’m drunk. I look at my phone. It’s 12 a.m. I make some quick mental calculations. Snack bar closes in an hour. I have two options: Round up the homies and dip out of Perry ASAP so we don’t have to deal with a line – or head to the Goat Room, dance with female hips swaying vapidly in the muggy air, and leave after 30 minutes to partake in that sacred weekly ritual that is Late Night – or, as it is more commonly known, snack bar.
After careful deliberation, I choose the former option. We roll to Paresky, dine on fried apotheosis and contentedly rub our bellies. The itis slowly pervades my essence. I stretch. I yawn. I look at my phone. It’s 12:53 p.m. Perry seems distant now. I no longer crave adventure. I might kick it a bit more, but before long I will return to my room, crawl under my comforter and conclude that it was a solid night.
Students at the College are faced with the stress that comes with combination of heavy academic workload, major athletic commitments and perfectionism, and we all feel compelled to relieve this stress on the weekend, whether by maxing and relaxing or getting stupendously drunk. Snack bar’s hours constrain this desire to let loose. We yearn for epic nights, to fulfill some abstract idea of everything college is supposed to be, but instead, we settle for solid.
Snack bar is a natural destination on Friday and Saturday nights. Most students are on the 21-meal plan, and most of them end up with a few meals to spare over the course of the week. Not many people are willing to shell out money for a late-night burrito or a slice of pizza on Spring Street when they can get food at snack bar without paying any extra. Whether you are having a quiet evening in, a gathering with friends or a night out on the town, you or someone with you will inevitably vocalize a desire to “hit up snack bar at some point.”
Snack bar ends nights. Period. This is not as major an issue for laid-back nights. If you stay in, it represents a low-key social activity, and the walk to Paresky endows the entire evening with a sense of purpose and achievement. But if you go out, it absorbs your momentum. Sitting down and eating will do that; snack bar is a venue for relaxation. A nightcap. It doesn’t get you pumped to run around campus. When the school closes those wooden doors at 1 a.m., they are not only shutting down the dreams of the prospective eaters before it – they are shutting down the campus’s entire night.
There is nothing wrong with our dependence on snack bar. Free food is the truth. The problem lies in snack bar’s hours of operation, which are currently 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week. Why not push weekend nights an hour back – 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.? This change would address two issues: It would alleviate the last-minute crunch that currently plagues snack bar. And, assuming the immense gravity of a trip to snack bar, it would extend the lifespan of the College’s nightlife by roughly an hour – a 33-percent improvement. What is the downside to this shift? There is none. Everyone wins! Except the burrito truck.
Danny Schwartz ’13 is a history major from Seattle, Wash. He lives in Armstrong.