Discussing change in Late Night service: The benefits of a potential expansion

The College’s Late Night dining feature in Whitmans’ serves as a mealtime staple for hungry students between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Accordingly, we are glad to know that Dining Services, the administration and students on College Council (CC) are considering extending Late Night service hours, particularly on the weekends.

Whether coming from a late night at the library, a weekend party or an athletic practice that ran through regular dinner hours, Late Night is the only available dining venue on campus after 8 p.m. and practically the only local dining option after 10 p.m. The College’s remote location provides a unique challenge: Most students at other colleges are able to find local eateries late into the night, if not 24 hours a day. Our school and town are small and as such, are not as flexible in providing round-the-clock options. Therefore, extending Late Night would provide a greater window of availability for dining, something that the student body has made clear it values. Similarly, extended hours would potentially allow for more participation in weekend social programing on campus, as students would not feel they need to leave functions early in order to make it to Late Night before it closes. Additionally, while campus drinking culture should not necessarily be a primary concern in considering dining options, extending hours of operation would provide students who may be too intoxicated to drive with a safer late-night dining option.

We recognize that the conversation about Late Night hours will require compromise and that Dining Services employees may be reluctant to work an extra late-night hour. It is crucial that the tone of mutual understanding and discussion continue in order to ensure that each campus constituency is satisfied with the final outcome. At the same time, we believe that despite the clear benefits of extra weekend Late Night service, there are certain compromises, such as forfeiting Late Night service on a weeknight, that may not be a net benefit for students. One alternative might be for Late Night to extend its hours on the weekends, but during those extra hours serve food that is already cooked and available buffet-style, thereby requiring less staff.

Overall, we applaud those involved in the discussion about extended Late Night service and their dedication to responding to sustained student interest in the option. We are eager to see the College continue the conversation on Late Night dining with all of the above options and more on the table.