EDITORIAL: Fill Village vacancy with student-run store
An update to the University’s Dining Services website on Aug. 2, 2016 declared that Dunkin Donuts would be moved from its location in the Village to Upper Usdan, to be opened at the beginning of the spring semester of 2017. This adjustment left a vacancy in the Village location, and the University has not yet announced, or even devised, a plan for the space. Vice President for Campus Operations, Jim Gray, confirmed this in a Feb. 6 email to the Justice. According to the email, other priorities stood in the way of any decisions.
This board recognizes the importance of carefully considering what goes into this location. However, we also acknowledge that without any on-campus food venue in this part of campus, the closest food source for residents of Ziv, Village and Ridgewood quads is Einstein Bros. Bagels, which is located inconveniently in the Shapiro Campus Center, approximately a ten-minute, uphill walk from these residence halls.
Based upon the fact that it is completely necessary for this vacancy to be filled in an expedited manner, this board proposes a few suggestions.
The most feasible way to fill this space efficiently is to use the space as a convenience store. This can be done very quickly by simply placing a few shelves in the space with chips and other snack foods, that can be staffed with one employee. This enables students who want a snack the ability to conveniently leave their residence halls for food without having to prepare for long walk.
In time, this board encourages the University to consider making the convenience store student-run. Brandeis University currently supports student-run enterprises that include Cholmondeley’s Coffee House, Student Production Services and Student Services Bureau. This would allow for students who are interested in running their own business the chance to practice managing their own convenience store for a period of time.
Although a student-run convenience store would require communication with Sodexo to identify how feasible this is with current University meal plans, having this type of store benefits the students who will gain experience from managing and maintaining the space and those who are residents of surrounding residence halls. In order for this to come to fruition, the University must gauge student interest to ensure that there are students interested in running the store. The University can reach out to the International Business School in hopes of gaining student involvement through them.
It is clear that the vacant space that was Dunkin Donuts has been empty for too long, without the University’s expression of any plans to fill it. Especially during times when it is snowy and difficult for students to walk longer distances, it is essential that there is a food venue in the Ziv Quad, Village and Ridgewood area. Therefore, this board urges the University to prioritize filling this vacancy in a timely manner.