By Nadine Tester
On the Lawrenceville campus, Rider has plenty of chances for students to pick where they eat. There’s the Bronc Diner for late night meals and Cranberry’s for tasty, freshly made sandwiches, pasta and pizza. Not to mention Starbucks and Java City, where hot and cold drinks, as well as a few snacks, are available.
The main place to get food on campus, however, is at Daly’s dining hall. After all, many of us have the meal plan that allows us 99 trips a week to Daly’s. It’s a fast way to earn the dreaded freshman 15, but also a convenient stop on the way to our club meetings for a quick lunch or early dinner before night class.
Daly’s has recently had problems with overcrowding during certain times in the day, mainly during the 12:30 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. lunch rush. To fix these problems, Rider has opened up the conference room at the back of Daly’s, as well as made seating available in the Bronc Diner, so students don’t have to wait for a table. These adjustments, it seems, aren’t enough, so Rider is taking another step and enclosing what is now the patio at the front of Daly’s. To a lot of people, this is not a big deal. Who wants to worry about ants crawling in your food or eating in what looks like an oversized jail cell? Usually it’s either too hot or too cold to eat outside anyway.
Still, it’s easier and more comfortable to get your food and eat it inside the temperature-controlled interior of Daly’s that now has more than a handful of flat screen televisions to keep your attention as you chow down.
On the other hand, once they enclose the patio, there will be one fewer place to eat outside. There are a few tables outside of Cranberry’s and near the dorms there are picnic tables, but I wouldn’t recommend eating off of them. Although there are a lot of disadvantages to eating outside, there are still a lot of people on campus who like to do it, even if it’s only one or two weeks out of a semester.
If Rider continues with its plan to expand Daly’s by enclosing the patio, I am completely behind it. There is an obvious need for more seating and enclosing the patio is a smart way to provide it. However, Rider needs to give back what it takes away. It’s like the whole idea of cutting down a tree, then planting one. If Rider encloses the patio in front of Daly’s, it should provide another pavilion for those students who want to enjoy their food outside (preferably not gated in).
However, whether students like to eat on Daly’s patio is not the issue. What is important is whether enclosing the patio will actually make a difference when it comes to overcrowding in the dining hall. This is only one part of a solution to a bigger problem. How many tables can comfortably fit in the tiny space they plan to enclose? Rider needs to see that its facilities, like the dining hall and housing, are becoming overwhelmed and something more than a quick fix is needed.