Campus Dining: More Options, Please!

Let’s be honest, Vanderbilt’s Campus Dining weekend hours are ridiculous.  This is my first year on Vanderbilt’s campus. I have spent many weekends complaining about dining hall hours with other students. There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to finding a good meal on weekends. Most dining options for students have unconventional hours or they don’t open at all. I have been let down many times due to these hours. Let me tell you, there is nothing more disappointing than walking to the Campus Store in Rand just to find out that it is closed! I strongly believe that the Vanderbilt’s Campus Dining hours fail to deliver to the needs of students during the weekends. It is time to extend the hours and satisfy the hunger of our student body.


First of all, a lot of students rely on their meal plans to get food. Freshman are fortunate to have twenty-one meals a week. However, these meals don’t matter when everything is closed. Students often miss their meal swipes because the meal periods and dining hours do not correspond. Say it’s Friday and I want to use my meal swipe on snacks at 4:00 PM in Rand. I can’t do that because the Campus Store closes at 3:00 PM. Then, all that I’m left with is Pi and Leaf. There are not enough places open for food.


In my experience, the markets are your best bet for meals on the weekend. But not just any market; just Common Grounds and Branscomb Market since they are the only markets open 24 hours. However, as a first-year student on the Commons, Branscomb Market is far away and not really an option for a sad, hungry freshman. I mean, who wants to trek a mile to get food? I just don’t have the energy.


I asked a few students from the class of 2021 what they thought about the weekend dining hours. A student named Seth voiced that “it’s so hard to find a good meal on the weekends, especially Sunday. If I want to eat breakfast I can’t get a hot meal before 10 A.M.” This is because the Commons dining hall does not open until 10 A.M. on Sundays. As someone who wakes up early, wanting to enjoy a beautiful morning with a full stomach, this is extremely inconvenient. If I want breakfast, I have to settle for a snack from Common Grounds because a hot breakfast is not even an option. The same student said, “A lot of upperclassmen may leave but most freshmen are stuck here. Where can freshman eat?” Since first-year students are not allowed to have cars on campus, we don’t have the luxury of driving to get food. We are stuck with quick fixes at the markets and trying to make it into the dining halls before they shut down.


Furthermore, Caroline, a first-year student at Vanderbilt, stated that a lot of students will wake up and use their lunch swipe “to get food at 11 AM.” But, “On Sunday, not everyone sleeps half the day away.” There are students who like to wake up early and can’t rely on the Commons for breakfast. If students don’t get a swipe at a market, they will most likely miss out on their breakfast swipe. So now I ask you, what’s the point in having twenty-one meal swipes if you can’t use them? If we are forced to use our swipes during designated times, then why can’t we have corresponding dining hall hours?


Don’t get me wrong, I realize that it may be difficult to keep dining halls open later. This will change the workday for campus dining employees. I know that no one wants to be away from their family until 1 in the morning and students can’t work those hours. However, we could change the closing time 6:00 PM instead of 2:00 PM. and 10:00 PM instead of 8:00 PM. And if changing the hours is too much to ask, let’s add more restaurants to the Taste of Nashville list. I’m tired of only being able to buy pizza during late nights. And there should be more options available for delivery. If not, we should add more options close to the Commons seeing that freshmen can’t drive. There are many restaurants located in Hillsboro, a quick walk from our dorms. Adding places like Urban Juicer or Taco Mamacita would give freshman more options for weekend dining. It is time to change our options and the hours of Campus Dining. Maybe one day I will be able to eat an early breakfast in the Commons on a Sunday.


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