Times are changing for the dining program at UMBC. Students who are hungry and in need of food during the off-hours of the weekend don’t have to look any further.
In September, True Grit’s initiated a program for hungry students who want to eat on Friday and Saturday nights after 7:30 p.m. Although some shops in Commons and True Grit’s Outtakes are open past 7:30 on Friday and Saturday night, True Grit’s is typically closed. Tom DeLuca, Resident District Manager for Chartwells, has spent the past decade working for UMBC dining. This year, he initiated Weekend Late Nights, which run from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights once a month.
The menu is no different from the weekday Late Night menu and there are plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options for students.
There is good news for those who enjoyed the program: it was a success. About 500 students came to each night. A similar number of students usually attend Sunday Late Nights, but regular weeknights are more popular.
The number of students in attendance was, however, higher than expected. Originally, the turnout was projected to be somewhere between 300 and 400 students. Fortunately, the employees and planners of the event now know what to expect in the future.
Despite its surprising success, the program has also faced problems.
“‘Staffing is a bit of an issue, since we have our regular staff cover the extended nights,” DeLuca says. “They are happy to do it though; they are getting a good amount of overtime pay!”
To ensure that this program is not a fleeting success, there will be four different weekends this Fall to gauge student interest. Additionally, Chartwells will assess the cost of adding Weekend Late Night to existing meal plans. Dining services does not want to increase meal plan price, but additional Late Nights use extra staffing and food. Finances are actually the primary reason that Late Night was previously unavailable on weekends.
Students are happy that they can now finally enjoy Late Night on the weekends. Sophomore psychology major and Spanish minor Sarah Pena says, “I think the program is great! My friends are definitely going to go to the next weekend Late Night!”
The Late Night program has so far been held on Homecoming weekend and the first weekend of November. The next one will be held on the first weekend of December. Currently, Chartwells has not determined whether weekend Late Nights will continue next year.