The Food Court is gone — or rather, covered with a black curtain. Regardless, the pain is just the same.
The center of campus is unusually quiet. We no longer have a home base, where students can be loud and social away from class. Commuters lost their mid-day hangout, their watering hole and their meeting place. And there’s nowhere on campus that is informal enough or large enough to make up for the loss.
Einstein Bros Bagels is underwhelming. It’s like Jazzman’s, with bagels. And the actual Jazzman’s in the library tower, while now bigger, is still not a suitable replacement. And the Tillman Café is just a joke.
Our own office, already sequestered from the rest of campus, is now on a hallway to nowhere — occupied only by lost freshman and confused upperclassmen. Splitting the University Unions just further fractured an already broken campus.
It seems that the University is in no rush to get everything reopened or provide the students with somewhere to go in the meantime. Construction was supposed to start immediately after commencement, yet the Susquehanna Room was still open as recently as mid-August. Sodexo wanted to reopen the old Dickinson Community dining hall, but the University turned them down.
We’ve seen the plans for the post-construction “Market Place,” and it does look charming. And while we commend the University for investing in a better future, it’s frustrating being left with the fragmented road to get there, while the adminstration keeps its eyes glued on the years ahead.
The efforts that have been taken to ease the loss of such a central hub are simply inadequate. It’s not like there wasn’t time to plan for this.
Why is there no central meeting place on campus? Where should student groups go for informal get-togethers? Is there anywhere on campus left with the necessary foot traffic to make tabling worth while? We are not happy.
Allowing student groups to table in the Glenn G. Bartle Library would be a good start. Increasing dining options around campus to fulfill our late-night burrito cravings would be great too. And while this might be too much to ask, the University should at least attempt to locate another campus hub. We want something open late with a variety of food and beverage choices. It has to have flexible seating. And the environment has to be tolerant of the ruckus that used to pervade the Food Court.
Future Binghamton University students will thank the administration. We just hope the University will stop pushing current ones to the side.