It is halfway through the semester, and Ashley has an exam in one of her classes. Practice ended at 6:30 and she immediately went to her room to study. It has taken her hours, but she finally feels comfortable with the material. She glances at the time as her stomach growls: 9:45 pm. The T.O.P. is closed and so is Sandella’s. She is famished, yet the only solution is to go to a fast-food restaurant and risk losing her good parking spot.
Ashley is just one student out of many who faces this problem: discovering that you become hungry at night with no convenient way to acquire a fulfilling meal. But there is a simple solution. The college should put in a third eating option, one that stays open later in the night.
But there is a simple solution. The college should put in a third eating option, one that stays open later in the night.
There is a perfect place to put such a restaurant – put it in the Underground. For decades the Underground has hosted a place to get food, ever since the completion of the Pyle Center in 1957.
It started out as a simple snack shop, referred to as B.O.P. (Bottom of Pyle). For nearly 40 years, B.O.P. was there to give students the chance to buy pizza, coffee, sandwiches, breakfast foods, and much more. Adjacent to the snack shop was a recreation room. Euchre tournaments and parties were commonplace; it allowed students to socialize with each other outside of their dorm rooms.
Then in 1996, B.O.P. was renovated and officially became the Underground. Along with the new name, new menu items were introduced such as Pizza Hut pizza and even a Starbucks stand for a short amount of time. APB was always hosting comedians and parties in the Underground; the student body had a strong sense of community with each other because of the shared space.
Flash forward to today’s Underground and you will find it empty, except for the game room and some tables and chairs. A legacy of almost 60 years can no longer be found in the basement of Pyle, and the student community is not as strong as it once was.
Student comradery can be recovered – all the college needs to do is institute a new restaurant into the Underground. The space is already there: a kitchen area for food preparation, a waiting area for orders, and enough sitting capacity to serve all customers. The capabilities to establish another food option are there as well as the student demand.
A survey of students’ opinions shows that 96% of the respondents are interested in going to the Underground more often if there was a food service there. Additionally, 98% of the respondents said they would like an eating option that stays open later, past 8 o’clock. Wilmington College is always looking for ways to serve its students, but they typically do not voice their opinions on how to improve the campus. Creating a third eating arrangement that stays open later at night would definitely improve the campus.
If a Starbucks restaurant was put into Pyle, it would not be competing with other Starbucks stores.
Instituting another food source for students will not be as difficult as it might seem. The before-mentioned survey also asked what students would like to see be put into the Underground; 23% responded that a coffee shop should be installed. This could become a reality because Sodexo has a partnership with Starbucks. Across the United States, Sodexo has established Starbucks restaurants where they provide food services such as in hospitals or schools. The closest Starbucks locations to Wilmington College are in South Lebanon and in Jeffersonville, both a lengthy drive for a cup of coffee. If a Starbucks restaurant was put into Pyle, it would not be competing with other Starbucks stores. Additionally, it will allow students to have more opportunities to work on campus.
A Starbucks or any other restaurant will entice students to study outside of their dorm rooms and engage with each other. The location will once again become a shared space that enhances the student community. It will also make the college more attractive to prospective student. A third eating option will benefit the college and the student body in all regards. It would certainly help Ashley when she is done studying. She could simply walk to the Pyle Center, buy a quick meal to satisfy her hunger, and feel confident that she will ace her exam.
All pictures and graphs were created and taken by Layne Frederick