Late-night Marketplace meals are a great addition to dining on East Campus and provide a fantastic service to freshmen. The pilot program at the Marketplace, which will offer an a la carte menu from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, could still be improved upon.
Late-night Cosmic runs may soon be a thing of the past. In an effort to cater to students’ food needs, dining services is piloting a program, which will offer a late-night a la carte menu at the Marketplace. For three nights a week, the Marketplace now will be open from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. This move is a step in the right direction for East Campus dining, which currently lacks variety and flexible hours.
Prior to these new Marketplace hours at night, freshmen had limited dining options at night—Trinity Cafe, ordering pizza or making a potentially dangerous trek off-campus. Adding the Marketplace as another late-night choice is a great improvement to food points options available on East Campus.
Nonetheless, the pilot program could still be improved upon. Although the convenience of the Marketplace will likely attract some freshmen, the a la carte menu will draw fewer freshmen than if the late-night meals were all-you-can-eat and part of their board plan. If the late night Marketplace meals were a substitute for the often unused Marketplace breakfasts, more students would utilize them.
Furthermore, if the late-night meals were all-you-can-eat on food points, the Marketplace might even be able to attract upperclassmen. Therefore, the numbers the Marketplace sees these first few weeks are probably not representative of the potential draw the Marketplace has.
The University should try and implement programs along with the Marketplace meals, in order to continue building community while giving students an attractive late-night option. The best formula for success is to create an atmosphere where students want to be. One option is to turn the Marketplace into a place to study, where students could bring their work for several hours and eat.
The late-night hours at the Marketplace can also be used to create a social atmosphere, where students could watch a movie or simply enjoy a study break. Incorporating elements of both a study hall and place to socialize is yet another option for late Marketplace nights.
Other problems with dining on East remain, in spite of the Marketplace’s additional opening hours. The University should not believe that opening the Marketplace three nights a week is the answer to all of its questions concerning freshman dining—East Campus still lacks the variety of meal choices demanded during the day when students are on East for classes. In order to solve this problem, the University may still need to continue considering the possibility of adding a new dining location on East.
In the meantime, late-night Marketplace meals are a great addition to dining on East and provide a fantastic service to freshmen. With any luck, the freshmen will take advantage of having the Marketplace available for dining at night, and the program can continue to grow and evolve in the future.
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