Late Night considers student feedback

Katie Buda

Averaging a total of 810 students per night, Late Night at the Marketplace (M.P.) satisfies students post-9 p.m. munchies more than it has in past years.

Two years ago, the participation in Late Night was not as favorable.

Open until 10 p.m., Sundays thru Wednesdays and offering only the dine-in option, students of the 2009-10 school year did not take fondly to the idea.

This lack in interest led dining services director, Sharon Carey, to discontinue the late night hours for the following 2011-12 school year.

After hearing negative feedback last year from students about class schedule conflicts with regular M.P. hours, Carey decided to revisit the idea.

“We sat down with the ASNMU board, which is made up of student representatives, and we decided we needed to do something to make sure students had more options available,” Carey said.

Sophomore Lindsay Niemisto, who works until 9 p.m. four nights a week, sees Late Night at the M.P. as a necessity for her.

“I used to go to sleep on an empty stomach last year because I was so exhausted from work and didn’t want to go out and get food at 9:30 at night,” Niemisto said. “Being able to eat at the M.P. after a long day at school and work is so nice.”

Aside from the necessity of Late Night hours, some students enjoy it out of pure preference.

“I stay up late, so Late Night’s perfect for me,” said sophomore Wesley McWilliams. “I always get hungry at night, and I always want food.”

Carey said the feedback the managing chef hears is generally positive, but some students do have complaints about the food quality, selection of food and cut off times.

According to Carey, it is important to remember that the employees of the M.P. are students first and servers and cooks second.

“Sometimes it’d be nice to have something besides pizza, salad and unsatisfactory wraps,” McWilliams said.

The lack of variety is not due to poor organization or lack of caring, Carey said, it is because the time needed to prepare foods, such as fruit and fresh meat, is nearly impossible considering the time constraints.

Freshman Sydnie Grinnell disagrees with the premature line cut-off.

“If the hours are until 12 a.m., I should be able to be served up until 12 a.m.,” Grinnell said. “It’s disappointing when I come down there before 12 and I can’t get food.”

As for students being turned away after 11:30 p.m., Carey also provides an explanation.

“The students that you see working Late Night need to get home to study and sleep,” Carey said. “We end the line at 11:30 so our staff has time to clean up and get out of there on time.”

As for future improvements for second semester, Carey plans to offer canned or pre-packaged fruit.

Late Night will not be offered during finals week due to the staff consisting mostly of students who also need to prepare for finals.

However, Carey and her staff are looking into offering alternative options such as walking tacos or “exam week treats” from Dec. 9 through 11.

“When you look at the number of people we are putting through the facility, you have to look at the challenges we face,” Carey said. “They [student employees] are working as hard and as diligently as they can.”