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Weekend late night is a step in the right direction

Since time immemorial, UMBC students have lamented the atmosphere on campus during the weekend. The list of complaints ranges from a dearth of options for dining to the number and quality of events offered at the end of the week. Now, one of the complaints has been addressed with the addition of late night on the weekends in the dining hall.

As of this semester, weekend late night is a permanent fixture in the dining hall, and students have been responding well to the change and stopping by True Grit’s for their middle-of-the-night dining. The popularity of late night has led to the increased use of the OZZI reusable containers, increasing the campus’ efficiency as well.

Last school year, weekend late night dining was offered one weekend a month for the fall and spring semesters, and students took advantage of the sparse opportunities to obtain sustenance. Prior to the introduction of late night, students were able to get food until 1 a.m. in the Commons — at 2.Mato in the fall of 2017 and Salsarita’s in the spring of 2018.

Having only one option for a place to buy a meal after 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays was part of an environment that left students extremely dissatisfied. This same environment encouraged students to stay other places for the weekend, whether that meant going to stay with friends on other college campuses or going home for the weekend.

With the advent of permanent weekend late night, UMBC is taking a step in the right direction as far as improving the conditions on the weekend. It may not seem significant, but students who were tired of eating 2.Mato’s pizza every weekend once they returned from attending parties now have another option for where to eat.

Kara Gavin, a junior English major, said, “It’s really convenient for students. Before if you didn’t get to d-hall before 7:30 on the weekend you only had one option, but now there’s more choice and people seem to really like the late night food.”

While students are certainly not knocking the option for late night food, their desires have only been partially addressed. The present options now leave two places open for students to eat on the weekends, but more variety would still be appreciated.

In addition, with 2.Mato closing at 1 a.m. this semester and late night closing at 2 a.m., the only option for a place to get food on campus is Outtakes, which closes between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. The loss of 23.5 hour availability of food from Outtakes does leave students with a longer gap in time for sources of food, so something to address that would also be appreciated.

The addition of late night on the weekends is only one small step in the right direction for UMBC to become a more inviting place for students to spend their weekend. When so many students who live on campus have homes within convenient driving distance, the incentives to stay will have to keep getting better.