It was recently announced that UR Dining has proposed renovating Hillside Cafe into a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) Market, an expansive convenience store that also offers grab-and-go prepared food options. Half of that proposal is an exciting, perfectly sound idea: the cramped, scarcely stocked Corner Store hardly cuts it as a convenience store, and a P.O.D. would be a much greater opportunity to serve students.
The problem, though, is that this new venture must come at the price of losing Hillside. Hillside is so much more a place to just get some awesome paninis and an ice cream sandwich — it’s a great place for concerts and No Jackets Required jams. Along with Connections, it’s a nice independent alternative to our Starbucks. And it’s an awesome place to just sit and chill with friends until two in the morning (that’s later than any other dining establishment on campus remains open). So it’s worth questioning why Hillside would be a serious target for removal, when there are other campus spots that serve less purpose — for example, The Hive.
Outside of billiards and Blimpie’s (which was, for some reason, relocated there over the summer and should remain a part of the Commons), The Hive doesn’t have any exclusive reason for existing. There are plenty of other places for students to play video games, watch sports on TV or sit and eat with companions. It has more restricted food options and business hours than Hillside and also lacks the cozy cafe atmosphere that easily encourages people to spend hours working or chatting with friends.
If located in the Hive’s space, the new P.O.D. would be directly connected to The Commons — meaning students really could take care of all their food needs in one stop, rather than all having to head over to Sue B. And besides the benefit of convenience, this decision would allow for an exciting new market to change student living, while also allowing us to keep an already beloved establishment.