Tennessee Tech boasts 10 thousand students, 2,200 of whom live on campus, according to the Residential Life’s page on Tech’s website.
That’s two thousand students on campus each weekend, some with no cars, and all with free time. Since The Perch has now closed, students have already lost two options for food. During the weekends, however, almost everything closes, leaving them with even fewer choices. The only two restaurants that are open every day are the dining hall and Back Yard Burgers. If students want to eat anywhere else, they have to walk or drive off campus.
Why even have so many restaurants if they’re going to close on the weekends when students need dining options more than ever? The Perch was one of the most popular places to eat on campus, especially on the weekends. Now if you don’t want to eat in the Caf, your only option is Back Yard Burgers. What if students want something healthy to eat? Sure, Back Yard Burgers has salads. Kind of.
Staying healthy on campus is already difficult, and it gets even more difficult on the weekends. The only restaurant that doesn’t sell greasy fried food is Which Wich, and of course they close early Friday afternoons.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if they opened more restaurants on Saturdays? Students would be happy? Chartwells would make more money? I understand Chick-fil-A being closed on Sundays; the entire corporation closes on Sundays. And of course I understand why Chartwells wouldn’t open every restaurant. They can’t afford to keep restaurants open for just 20 percent of students. But would it really hurt them to have a few more options? It would create jobs and give students a place on campus to hang out and do homework.
Weekends are also the time most students spend their leftover flex dollars. If they haven’t used all their meals over the week and need to buy extra food to make up for it, their only options are either the Caf or Back Yard Burgers, especially since you can no longer buy small snacks at the Caf.
I’m not even saying the restaurants have to stay open for their full hours. Abbreviated hours would be completely understandable. But if it’s Sunday afternoon, and I want something other than burgers or Caf food, I should have that option, especially considering the fact that I have paid for a meal plan, and I have paid to have more than two options.
By closing almost all of their restaurants on the weekends, Tech is basically telling the on-campus students that they don’t matter enough to have options. When I lived on campus, I felt like I wasn’t wanted, like Tech wished I would spend every weekend at home.
One of my favorite things about Tennessee Tech is how well it accommodates all of its students. But on the weekends it’s like they completely forget the ones who live here. Sure, it’s just a small percentage of the 10 thousand who are here during the week. But 2,200 is still a lot of people. Why should they be forced to choose between just two restaurants? Why can’t they go to Which Wich if they want to?