When Carolina Dining Services recently announced that UNC students with a meal plan would have access to seven PLUS Swipes per week for the remainder of the semester, it was exciting news.
However, it reminded everybody on North Campus that the Bottom of Lenoir was operating at a limited capacity and that the Top was closed for the entire semester.
Every week, the Bottom of Lenoir is only open on weekdays, between 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., for Chick-fil-A and Mediterranean Deli — and even on Fridays, these hours are reduced.
As much as we all love the spicy chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A and the varied flavors of Med Deli, it inevitably gets redundant to choose from the same few PLUS Swipe options at the two restaurants. It also has people questioning why places like Sushinara or Merritt’s aren’t open for dining options.
Not only would it make PLUS Swipes more valuable to have on hand, but it would also increase the variety of options available to all UNC students, instead of just rotating between the handful of restaurants that accept the swipes.
But the lack of current options isn’t the biggest complaint that many students living on North Campus have. Rather, it’s the annoying and inconvenient walk that we have to embark upon in order to get to Chase Dining Hall, which is operating with regular hours. That, combined with the often freezing temperatures at this time of year, can make for some pretty uncomfortable and lengthy walks just to get food.
There was recently a post on the @blacksheep_unc Instagram account that poked fun at the situation many North Campus students face. The post features a meme where a person representing “north campus mfs” is being separated from the other side, representing a “normal step count." The gaping hole in the middle separating the two is labeled with Lenoir being closed, and the caption sarcastically states, “My daily step count is higher than tuition at this point."
With over 1,000 likes, this clearly isn’t just the sentiment of a single individual.
One of the primary draws of North Campus is its great location and close proximity to most academic buildings. But this is essentially no more with most classes remaining virtual for the duration of the spring semester. If anything, it now feels worse to live on North Campus, as it’s so far from the only dining hall that is fully open.
Furthermore, if the weather isn’t cooperating and it’s pouring rain — or worse yet, freezing rain or snow — then an uncomfortable stroll can feel like running the gauntlet just to get some (admittedly good) pizza at Chase. The situation is even worse for those who like to get takeout from the dining hall. Walking 15 minutes there and back with just a box or two of food that has gotten cold by the time you return to your dorm is certainly not ideal.
So Carolina Dining Services, please open up the Top of Lenoir for the livelihood of those living on North Campus. Expanding the Bottom of Lenoir would also be appreciated by everyone with a meal plan, as having more than two restaurants to use our seven new PLUS Swipes would be great.
In this unprecedented year and semester, can we at least have some normalcy with our dining options?
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