University should expand all-hours dining options


Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Every semester, around midterms and final examinations, my study group and I run down to Jester City Limits at 10:45 p.m. from the PCL before it closes down at 11 p.m. Even though we make it on time, sometimes we are unlucky and they are out of food because everyone else has the same idea. Jester City Market is still open until 12:00 a.m., but snacks don’t last long in our stomachs, Wendy’s isn’t exactly a healthy option, and crossing Guadalupe at night is not our first choice.

If UT had a small food store, just like the Jesta’ Pizza, that would be open 24 hours a day, it would make our lives so much simpler. The store doesn’t have to be elaborate — a few night packaged options such as wraps and sandwiches and options for people with dietary restrictions, should be enough. The store would also help all the students who are broke by the end of the semester, including me, by accepting Dining Dollars and Bevo Bucks, which can be used on campus and select locations off campus, are subsidized and a much cheaper option than using cash.

The new little store might actually save more food as well. Currently, all the food that is not sold by the closing of dining halls is thrown away — a 24-hour store could use that freshly prepared food that is about to go to waste anyways. During midterms and especially during finals, our hungry brains and stress levels are going to reduce the wastage of food even further. A store with healthy options will reduce our stress levels. A cup of coffee in the middle of writing a paper at 4 a.m. would be totally worth it.

While this would be great for students, we need to consider what is feasible for employees as well. Vikram Vysyaraju, a finance senior and an RA at Moore Hill for the last two years, says that “from an employee perspective and from the people who are hiring... many of these people are adults (and) they have families to go to too.” Yet, over the years as an RA he has seen that a lot of college students are up late at night and if it was just staffed by students, “it would be nice if something was open later.”

Along with employing students who can work late nights, a plan to open a store should not cost us students a lot. Vysyaraju says that it is worth it only if does not burden students financially. The new student government needs to step in and take this plan further and look into where the money would come from and the location of the store — something that would address our needs, be cost efficient and not waste any more food than the dining halls already do.

Batra is a computer science and rhetoric and writing junior from New Delhi. She is a columnist.