At UR, perhaps one of the greatest attractions to students is the vibrant student life that is continuously occupying campus. Apart from the generally substantial class load, most students are involved in one or more student organizations, and many more hold jobs on top of that. Nearly every weekday features some new lecture or campus event, and various campus groups use the weekends to put on large-scale performances. All in all, campus is rarely without something for students to engage in — even if it is simply completing the mountains of homework that accumulate mid-semester.
This brings attention to an odd paradox in the school’s infrastructure. With the vibrant social life on campus, during both the week and weekend, students are naturally encouraged to remain on campus. However, student resources such as dining centers and libraries that aid in assisting comfortable student life feature reduced hours on weekends, or are closed altogether. Can this be considered deprivation of essential resources to the student body, or a necessary part of the University’s management?
Considering both of the circumstances, one can see the values of each. Reduced hours on weekends are commonplace among many universities because smaller numbers of people tend to use the library on weekends, and because many students will use the free time to explre off campus. Economically it would not make sense to supply a service at a cost to the University — rather, costs that students indirectly pay for through tuition that was either not utilized or was obsolete. Given the size of the remaining dining centers and the availability of kitchen spaces in every building, if not every floor, it is arguably unnecessary to have all dining centers open seven days of the week. The weekend also gives a distinct mental break to the student body — without which, the weekends would perhaps resemble weekdays for many unfortunate students. In addition, Gleason Library is open 24/7 and thus provides a study space for students/groups unable to work in their own rooms.
The flip side to this argument is that, since the encouragement to stay on campus is high and the academic rigor is substantial, why does UR continue to have reduced hours/closing of dining centers? While late-night research is not encouraged, students who otherwise have weekend commitments or jobs may be at a loss when trying to conduct their research without the library at their disposal. The Art and Music Library houses specific research materials and art editing software — both resources that students might not have regular access to. Coursework for nearly all classes increases greatly after the first few weeks of classes — considering the academic rigor of most courses, students often opt to study together, rather than remain in their rooms.
With respect to the dining centers, while there perhaps isn’t an overwhelming need to have all dining centers open during the weekend, students with special diets (i.e. vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc.) are mostly funneled to The Commons, where there is no area specifically catering to meat-free diets. The scattered options can make a meal, but often repeat several weekends over, and are largely comprised of several appetizer-type foods rather than a full meal. Though UR shuttles cover a lot of ground, a large number of students do not have cars and many have full schedules that make it difficult to fit in time for off-campus grocery shopping in concordance with bus schedules.
Overall, the student body of UR provides a continual drive for interesting and diverse student life on campus — those of which are not tied only to the weekend, but providing consistent sources of academic enrichment. Whether there is an inherent disposition to keep the weekends without full resources, or to provide them 24/7, the functioning of the University remains largely unchanged, and the student body left with extreme inconveniences.



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