SMU has announced that the Umphrey Lee dining hall (aka Umph) will now be closed after 2 p.m. on weekends.
The only dining facility students will have access to on weekends is Arnold dining hall by the Residential Commons.
Arnold is open from 9:30 a.m. till 7 p.m.
Although I had heard about this, I was secretly hoping that it was not true.
I went over to Umph later that day to confirm the announcement; however, I didn’t even have to ask. Derrick broke the bad news to ,e before I even had the chance to.
He took my student ID card, swiped it, paid me a compliment and a hug then said,
“In case you haven’t heard, Umph will be closed after 2 p.m. on weekends. Sorry sweetie.”
I felt a swirl of emotions.
Where would I go to get my morning omelet and afternoon froyo? How can my Saturday mornings be happy without Mama T or Derrick?
After feeling sad, I felt angry.
Why was SMU closing one of the only two dining halls on campus? Do they not realize how many mouths they have to feed?
As of last year, it is required for freshmen and sophomores to live on campus.
To accommodate this influx of people actually staying, new residential commons, a dining hall and a parking lot were built.
Two dining halls were enough to feed the giant mobs of underclassmen during busy hours throughout the week, but what happens during the weekends?
The benefits of having two dining halls on campus was that there was one on each side of the campus so that students didn’t have to walk fifteen minutes to get food (and when you’re hungry, every minute counts).
It’s more convenient for students get food when they are ravenous at a closer proximity without them having to trek across campus to find food.
Moreover, now that Arnold closes at 7 p.m., at a typical dinner hour, students have to rush to eat dinner or eat earlier, and will become hungry later in the night.
This cheats students out of their meal plan.
They cannot eat as often as they want or need to, and now they are restricted to one dining facility that is furthest from the main center of campus.
And as the season transitions to fall and winter, it will become darker earlier.
That means it will be less safe for students to be walking over to go eat all the way at Arnold, especially if students are living in Shuttles, Peyton, Mary Hay or Virginia-Snider.
It is ridiculous for students to have to be restricted to one dining hall when students are required to live on campus.
Not only is it limiting, closing the Umphrey lee dining hall to me is closing off one of the “homiest” parts of SMU.
I think every SMU student can agree that most of their underclassmen period included mustang corral, communal dorms and eating at Umph every damn day.
There is just something about Umph that makes you feel like you’re less at a cafeteria and a little bit more at home.
Maybe it’s just the famous and loved staff. Maybe it’s the bell ringing signaling the freshly baked cookies. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m just too accustomed to Umph rather than Arnold.
I know I’m biased. Ideally, as a student, I would like both dining halls to be open so I’m able to grab food at the closest proximity to me wherever I wake up the next morning.
But given the choice, I would rather trek over to Umph.
During my short interaction with Derrick, he said something that I found to be surprisingly comforting.
He said, “Even though you have to go over to the other place to eat, don’t forget that your home is here with us.”
And that’s why I choose Umph.