Lesley University’s Brattle campus is picturesque on the weekends: the old brick building bubbles with activity, church-goers stroll by with bright-eyed children, people throw frisbees in the yard, and—get ready for this one, folks— the dining hall is as barren and empty as my stomach. So, what to do now? I guess I could whip up some more ramen noodles for the third meal in a row. “Why not order a pizza or go out to eat?” you might ask. Well, considering that I can hardly afford to do my laundry, that really isn’t a viable option. Yes, I could walk to Doble campus and get dinner at Charlie’s or White Hall. But making that half-mile walk in snow, rain, or twenty degree weather isn’t exactly a stroll in the park. The more pressing question here, I believe, is why can’t we have dinner on Fridays and weekends?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I greatly appreciate the dining hall staff and the food they prepare for us. I love living on Brattle. The dorms are generally nicer than those on main campus, and overall, it’s a more spacious place to live. It certainly has its perks—and its downfalls. Isn’t it a bit strange (if not downright unfair) for students on one campus to be provided with meals on the weekends while the others are left to scavenge for something in their rooms, or drop at least twenty dollars a day on food in Harvard Square? Maybe the Lesley Delivers program should deliver sandwiches to Brattle students on their way to deliver them to the homeless in Harvard Square.
In all seriousness, though, what is the reason for Washburn Hall being closed on weekends, and even Friday nights? If a university is going to have separate campuses with separate dining halls, they should both be open on weekends so that all students can have access to them. Upon asking other students, I heard similar opinions. One of my roommates said, “We pay for housing here, so we should have meals on the weekends and not have to go over to the other campus in order to get them.” A student living on Doble who was unaware of the no-dinner-on-Fridays-and-weekends policy on Brattle, upon hearing of it, exclaimed: “Are you serious?! Dear God! I’d be furious if I lived on Brattle!”
Another sympathetic Doble-dweller brought up this fantastic point: Lesley has very recently swamped Harvard Square and Porter Square with new billboards and posters. They’re plastered throughout the MBTA stations, boldly advertising Lesley. We all know that marketing isn’t cheap; but somehow there are funds available to heap a plethora of advertisements all over the city, and none to pay the dining hall staff for two and a half extra days of service. I understand that the school is trying to recruit new students, and thus invest in their future as a relevant institution, but should they really forget about their current students in the process? That just doesn’t sit right with me, and clearly, as my fellow students have shown, I’m not alone in feeling that way.
I’ve asked my Community Advisor about the specific reasons for having a dinner-less campus for three days out of the week, but she was just as uncertain as I am. For now, it looks as though my tuition will not be put towards my dinner, but those lovely lime-green posters found throughout Cambridge, advocating the school and the importance of “creativity.” Perhaps this article will inspire some change to take place in the system—or inspire conversation among students to bring about that change— but at the moment, it seems as though for dinner I’ll be cracking open yet another nutritious and delicious eighty-seven cent package of chicken-flavored ramen noodles.