Source: Athens Banner Herald
By Rebecca Quigley | Correspondent | Story updated at 11:06 PM on Monday, May 7, 2007
Facing a late night of studying for their calculus final, Dave Allen and Mandy Newton headed out after midnight Thursday from their Russell Hall dorm rooms to Snelling Dining Hall.
Like hundreds of other final-frazzled students, the two University of Georgia freshmen were taking advantage of a change that keeps Snelling open round-the-clock Mondays through Thursdays.
Newton had her calculus book and notes with her, but at about 1:15 a.m., the book was shut while she and Allen scarfed down biscuits and eggs.
"I plan to study, but I was going to snack and then study," Newton said. "When I'm stressed, I eat."
When students returned from spring break in mid-March, they found the dining hall open 24 hours, but final exams that started early last week drew more students in the wee hours than staff expected.
"I can show up whenever I want - when I get hungry," Allen said. "I think I'd fall asleep if I studied in the dorm."
Thursday was the first time the Allen and Newton came for late-night studying since finals started early last week. "I usually come at night for social reasons," Newton said. "Once, I came at three (a.m.), and I was surprised there was a lot of people."
During finals, about 700 students showed up at Snelling between midnight and 7 a.m. for food and a place to study, according to UGA Food Service records.
"The students of today have a different lifestyle than my generation," said UGA Food Services Director Michael Floyd, adding that student demand led to the move to keep Snelling open 24 hours.
The current generation of college students are demanding a 24-hour campus.
Answering students' calls for longer hours, UGA officials moved the Student Learning Center's closing time from midnight to 2 a.m. shortly after the building opened in 2003. Student leaders this year have been pushing for the study hall-themed building to stay open 24 hours.
Since the 24-hour change-over, about 500 students showed up each night between midnight and 7 a.m., Floyd said.
About 1,800 students show up from 8-10 p.m. and more than 400 between 10 p.m. and midnight, he said.
UGA students can choose whether they want to buy a meal plan, so food services must cater to what students want - like staying open late - to keep their business, Floyd said.
About 1,700 students who live off campus buy a meal plan, but Floyd said he expects even more will begin signing up in the fall so they can take advantage of the extended hours.
Food services created six new full-time positions to cover the extra hours, and though managers worried that they would have trouble recruiting a graveyard shift, they filled the positions within a week, Floyd said.
"The key was, we went to it gradually," he said.
While food services staff expected that students studying for finals would like the 24-hour service, some feedback came as a surprise. Student athletes have said they like being able to have breakfast before early-morning practice, and students who like to go hunting said they can get a hot meal before hitting the woods, Floyd said.
Katherine Durham, a freshman in pre-journalism and public relations, spent the midnight hour on Thursday studying for religion and sociology finals.
She hasn't made a habit of visiting Snelling in the middle of the night, but expected to take advantage of the 24-hour dining hall during finals.
"It's great for situations like this," she said.
With another final scheduled today, Durham said she'd probably return to Snelling Monday night for a cup of coffee and some more cramming.
Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 050807