In last week’s issue of The Dickinsonian, there was a story about the closure of Hartman House, the college’s venture running a morning-only coffee shop. The story was almost comical—there was a single visit to the coffee shop in the month that it was open.
Dining Services made lots of mistakes, of course. There were only a few hundred students on campus those first two weeks (all of whom were in the stay-at-home period). The location was, and is, very unfamiliar to the average student, since many people don’t know that the buildings behind the Stern Center are owned by the college. And the location was poorly advertised (though Dining Services listed quite a few places that it was advertised).
Even with all of these business mistakes, the story is still amusing. This hilarious story could only happen, though, since the Quarry closed this year, which left a void in the dining options on campus. That was a big loss, since the Quarry was a frequent spot of late-night activity on Campus. Where else could you burn all of your spare swipes so quickly?
We are in some unusual circumstances and the Dining Services has a lot of challenges right now, and I don’t want to use this single failure to characterize the whole of college administration, but the lack of care in putting this plan together is a worrying sign about the ideas that Dining Services and Student Life have for making campus an interesting place to be. There was not adequate planning about the implementation, and I’m afraid this will be taken as evidence that students don’t want a coffee shop dining option. Many students will be mourning the Quarry, though, and want a casual place to go for food.
Most students are already quick to complain about how boring Dickinson and Carlisle are, and say that there is nothing to do here. (This complaint is really overblown, if you ask me, and more about the lack of imagination of Dickinson students more than it says anything about Carlisle.) A campus setting with no casual dining location is not a great look for campus life, so I hope administrators consider other options for student dining.