It’s amazing how fast RPI came back to life from the ghost town it was just a few days ago. When I arrived back on campus Saturday afternoon, there was barely anyone around. The parking lots and walkways were practically empty.
As time went on, more students began filtering back. Saturday night, there were quite a few more, and mostly everyone had arrived by midday on Sunday. The parking lots and walkways were no longer empty.
But there was one area of campus that wasn’t bustling with activity—the dining halls. There were hundreds of students at RPI with no place to eat. Even though the residence halls opened Wednesday, January 3, there was absolutely no dining service until 4:30 pm on Sunday. At least there was one meal before classes started Monday.
Obviously it wouldn’t be feasible to have the dining halls resume normal hours the day the residence halls opened since most students wouldn’t be around until the weekend, but waiting until dinner on the very last day before classes to open is too late.
If the residence halls are open, then there are students living on campus, and there should be somewhere to eat. There has to be a compromise between being closed and being open for the regular hours. Instead of being open straight through the day, there could be one hour slots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or if that is too much, combine breakfast and lunch into brunch and only have two meals a day.
Since the dining halls were not open, it was time to look for other options; it was time to go to the Union. Unfortunately, there was no food service there, either. The closest thing to getting a meal was to get a TV dinner at Father’s, which along with the Bookstore, were the only places open in the Union. Judging by the number of people walking around with bags from the bookstore, there surely would have been plenty of demand for someplace to eat.
There must be a better way. Whether it be opening the dining halls, or a dining hall on a limited basis, or doing the same in the Union, food is one of the basic necessities of life. When RPI is providing shelter, it also needs to provide food. It’s like building a doghouse and then not feeding the dog—one is useless without the other because the dog will starve to death and won’t live in its house anymore.