The need for after-hours campus dining
What’s better: the actual event, or Midnight Breakfast? Great question, actually. A staple to Halloween, Homecoming, Winter Ball, Llamapolooza, and others, Midnight Breakfast is essentially the school weighing you down with so much bread and potatoes that all you want to do is to go to bed. It’s beautiful. It’s likely the only way you could ever get hundreds of drunk people in one space and just will them, well, not to be drunk anymore.
Maybe, proportionately, there are more students both participating and drinking in these major, often school-sponsored, weekend events. There is also, however, a decent population of students that will not get their most intoxicated on one of these high-incident nights.
While there are more students participating in these larger events than a normal weekend night, I think it’s safe to say that if you attend any given party on a weekend, every night can be a high-incident night for someone.
As comical as it would be, I am by no means arguing for Midnight Breakfast three nights a week. I do believe, however, that it’s not only economical, but exponentially safer, for students to have a consistent late-night dining option. As enjoyable as 500 calories—at least—of carbohydrates typically are after a night of drinking, sometimes, as Midnight Breakfast dictates, they’re more necessity than novelty. Whether on or near campus, there needs to be a late-night food option open well beyond midnight. Not only will this venue have a monopoly on the post-party food market, but it also acts as a safety net for the many students whose closest calls with drinking or drugs happen outside of high-incident nights. For a resident of Mathias coming home at 2 a.m. having had too much to drink, there is no fully stocked kitchen to cook in, the C-Store is closed, and it might be too unsafe to walk to either of the 7-Elevens. Then what, exactly, is there to do?
For students—typically juniors or seniors—who have space to store and cook their own food, this is less of an issue, but for students fully relying on the meal plan for two or three meals a day, obtaining a meal beyond Bon Appétit’s hours of operation is far more difficult than it should be. Underclass students already plan their days around Bon Appétit’s designated meal times, and if a student’s ability to sustain themselves is in the hands of the college, then that should exist for all hours of the day.
Even for juniors and seniors in small houses, it is incredibly difficult to get off of the meal plan. The college’s—some would say questionable—resistance to have its older, increasingly independent students continue to pay for meal plan is extremely contradictory to the tight schedule of on-campus dining. To claim that underclassmen need to comply with Bon Appétit’s schedule because it is a social experience ignores the fact that new students have few resources to help their friends at night when they are too intoxicated and need sustenance. Furthermore, upperclassmen that are not exempt from the meal plan should not be treated like they need the dining halls to stay healthy and fed, while, once everything closes at midnight, they have full responsibility to care for their own eating habits without any of the otherwise aggressive dietary intervention from the school.
If the school is going to control the eating schedule of the majority of its students, then it needs to be aware of the times when students need food but cannot get it. A food joint open until 2 a.m. or later is a way to safely end one’s night, emergency or not. Some form of late-night dining is present at almost every campus I have been to, and even if we wouldn’t typically refer to downtown Colorado Springs as a “college town,” there is still a void from which both students and local businesses can profit.
So, long live Midnight Breakfast. But there has to be a secure means to end every weekend night where someone forgot to eat dinner, went out on little sleep, or wasn’t sure how to cope with anxiety. Colorado College and Bon Appétit need to understand that they are not fulfilling the student body’s food needs, which, in this case, extend beyond the realm of hunger, and far into that of safety. It’s just something to consider.