Opinion: NYU should extend dining hall hours

Dining halls simply aren’t open long enough to accommodate the unpredictable college student lifestyle.

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Samson Tu

File photo: The NYU Eats market at Palladium Hall taken in spring of 2022. (Samson Tu for WSN)

Anuj Jain, Contributing Writer

NYU’s dining halls are not open late enough. The majority of dining halls at NYU close at 9 p.m., and many close even earlier. While 9 p.m. is reasonably late, the fundamental truth is that many college students are awake deep into the night, clicking away at their keyboards in their dorms or Bobst Library. These students would benefit significantly from the opportunity to eat during the wee hours of the morning. New York City is the city that never sleeps, so why should our dining halls close so early? 

The residential dining halls at Third Avenue North, Weinstein and Lipton Hall are open until 9 p.m. on weekdays. The Marketplace at Kimmel closes at 8 p.m. for most of the week, but it closes on Friday at 2 p.m. and isn’t even open on the weekends. Palladium Hall closes at 10 p.m. everyday. Upstein is open till 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, but it closes earlier on the weekends. These times don’t accommodate for the unpredictable lives of college students. Only the University Hall Commons are open until 11 p.m., and it is decently far from Washington Square Park.

NYU students would benefit massively from the university extending dining hall closing times to 11 p.m., or even midnight. Midnight meals, or even a midnight snack, would surely be a hit with night-owl college students.

Later dining hall hours could better accommodate the varying schedules of both classes and clubs, which can end at 9 p.m. or later. Additionally, it would probably encourage healthier eating habits in students if they had more opportunities to eat later in the day. How many students skip meals because the dining halls are closed at times when they are hungry? 

Ronni Mandell, the Senior Director of Marketing for Campus Services, noted that some dining halls will offer a late-night meal as finals season kicks in. 

“NYU Dining offers a free Late Night Breakfast night at select dining halls from 10 p.m. – 12 a.m.,” Mandell wrote in an email. “This helps fuel NYU students as they stay up late to study and this semester will take place on December 15th at NYU Eats at Downstein, Palladium and Jasper Kane Cafe.” 

Mandell noted that the dining team has yet to finalize its J-term and spring semester hours. 

Midnight breakfast is the perfect option for a busy and hungry college student, and it should be implemented more often throughout the year. It would be strategic for NYU to consider opening a 24-hour dining hall throughout the school year, or at least have it open on a 24-hour schedule during midterms and finals season. This would mean that the university would have to hire more staff — and probably pay them better — but as NYU students, giving university staff better wages is something we should champion and support. 

Skeptics may argue that since New York City stores are open 24 hours, anyone can find food late at night. But the city is expensive, and not everyone is inclined to spend money when they could eat in an NYU dining hall instead. 

Select dining halls at NYU will offer a midnight meal this week — but that should not be the last we see of this opportunity. Extending dining hall hours will benefit students in numerous ways, and it’s time the university made the change.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Anuj Jain at [email protected]