Students reflect on changes to the caf and 586

It’s become a common sight over the past few years: students spotted sprinting across campus, barely slipping through the Campus Center doors before the clock hits 7.

This daily race against time has escalated with an increase in night and downtown classes and the frequent practicums and clinicals that are now mandatory for many majors.

Thankfully, administrators have proposed a solution to allow students access to the caf for an extra hour each night.

Starting in the fall of 2016, the caf will remain open until 8 p.m.

This transition will be a huge benefit to our student body. Can we pause for a minute and give the MVNU administration a standing ovation?

An extra hour of chicken patties and stir fry may not seem like a big deal, but for those of us with night classes, this hour is a game changer!

“I’ve had a class during this hour [6:15–7:15 p.m.] just about every semester I’ve attended MVNU,” junior Jacob Chrysler said. “Having the cafeteria open until 8 p.m. will allow me to eat dinner when I am actually hungry.”

Sophomore art major Sydney Fender agreed. With a strict schedule and many downtown classes, art and graphic design majors “prefer to work into the evening and usually end up buying fast food or skipping dinner altogether because they know the caf will be closed by the time they return to campus,” Fender said.

After a long day of back-to-back classes, practicums, work, practice and meetings, the last thing we want to do is purchase dinner when we are already paying for an MVNU meal plan. This is especially frustrating because we cannot control our schedules.

The caf hours needed adjusting, and must be set to accommodate the schedule of a “typical college student,” upcoming Student Body President Nathan Henderson said. “Now that the hours will be later, there will be more opportunities for all students to get dinner.”

The new hours also will accommodate the busy schedules of MVNU athletes and coaches.

“Opening the caf later is a huge benefit to student athletes,” senior basketball player Eric Roby said. “Basketball practice was sometimes cut short due to the caf closing. We had to rush to the caf and eat quickly before they started putting the food away.”

Other athletes also say they frequently end up going off campus for their evening meal.

“[Track] practices in the evening usually means missing dinner, and that forces us to spend money at fast food restaurants,” sophomore Walter Blanks said. “Although it’s only an hour, we will now have time to get to the caf after practice.”

Megan Beidelman, a junior who plays basketball and softball, said she has paid for countless meals because of the inconvenient caf hours.

“I think that this change will benefit not only the student athletes but also the student body as a whole,” Beidelman said.

With later hours, a different menu and cheaper prices, the 586 transition is another great change coming to campus. Beginning in the fall, the 586 will remain closed throughout the day, opening at 8 p.m. A different menu focusing on snack foods and cheaper prices also will be offered.

Because very few students purchase meals during the day, opening at 8 p.m. is a smart financial move for the university. The grill typically experiences the most traffic during the late hours of the night as students gather for intramurals, study sessions and athletic events.

“I’ve never eaten at the 586 prior to 7 p.m.,” Chrysler said. “I think keeping the 586 closed during the day is a smart move. Not only will this cut costs, but having it closed may encourage students to go to the downtown campus for coffee [at Happy Bean] with a friend.”

The University has also promised to make the new menu items affordable for budget-conscious students.

“The 586 was a little expensive, so the snack meals are a perfect solution,” Roby said.

Since news of the changes surfaced last month, most students have reacted favorably, but others are unsure about the new direction of the 586. In particular, students suggest keeping at least a few of the more popular dinner items available.

“They should keep it the way it is,” senior Dey’Veon Carter said. “When I miss dinner at the caf I want to know there is another option, not just snacks.”

Trying to juggle classes, labs and a heavy work schedule, sophomore Sydney McCrady said she’s so busy that even with extended caf hours, there may be times when she needs to get a full meal at the 586.

“In some ways it’s nice because it’s cheaper, but even if the caf stays open until 8 p.m., I might not be able to get dinner,” McCrady said.

Overall the changes coming in the fall of 2016 will improve student life on campus. But, as a loyal customer of the chicken quesadillas, I am definitely going to miss the current menu.

For the full article about the changes coming to the caf and 586, click here.

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