On Thursday, January 15th, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) had our first meeting of the semester. The main topic of the evening was the recent opening of Mines Market and the resulting changes in campus dining options. Specifically, Mines Market is now open late at night, while Digger Den’s hours have been cut back. This has caused a lot of uproar from students on campus. As a result, USG asked a few staff members involved in this decision to come and speak with USG. Rebecca Flintoft, vice president of Student Life, Gayle Witzke, Campus Dining representative, and Susan Fukushima, Campus Dining representative, all attended the meeting and offered their perspectives and opinions on this issue.
First, Flintoft and her associates explained the reasoning behind the decision to switch the late night option from Digger Den to Mines Market. For starters, Mines Market is closer than Digger Den is to the majority of on campus residents and they wanted to showcase the new location in order to make it more of a hang out area for students who live on campus. Furthermore, it is more cost effective for them to run Mines Market than Digger Den since producing food in a made to order style is more expensive. After looking into the numbers of people who went to Digger Den after hours, they honestly thought that Mines Market would be viewed as a reasonable replacement for Digger Den late at night.
Obviously a significant number of students do not feel that Mines Market is a suitable replacement for Digger Den after 7:00 PM. There have been over 1000 votes on “What’s Your Beef?” and several complaints on social media about the switch. We brought up every concern that we heard to the three staff members. We determined that the main issue is the lack of options offered by Mines Market. Students used to have a wide variety at Digger Den, from full meals to little snacks. Now, their options have been significantly decreased. For students with evening classes that go past seven, only having one food option for dinner is unacceptable. This issue is only going to get worse when students start having common hour exams and need something to eat afterwards, or when the semester starts getting harder and people are up late studying.
Another concern expressed on “What’s Your Beef?” was that there are hardly any healthy options past 7:00 PM. Mines Market recently opened both the salad and sandwich bars, but that is it. Students were also concerned about options for gluten free or dairy free food for people with food allergies, but it was explained that there is always gluten free or dairy free option all that you need to do is ask for it!
The next big issue was that Mines Market is a terrible option for people without unlimited meal plans. Getting into Mines Market costs about $9 dollars where as at Digger Den you could get a full meal for $5. This does not really affect people with unlimited meal plans because they would most likely use a meal swipe at either location, so cost is the same. But for upperclassmen or anyone on a lower tear meal plan it is an issue. Anyone with a meal plan lower than unlimited only gets two meal swipes a day. If they use those up they have to use Munch Money to get food past 7:00 PM and that may cost them significantly more than Digger Den did in the past.