By The Gatepost Editorial Board
At the end of the week when classes are finished and student organizations aren’t meeting, the once active Framingham State campus experiences a complete 180.
With commuters home for the weekend, limited dining hours and options, and a closed Health Center, the FSU campus is a desolate place.
And where is the fun?
The streets are noticeably empty.
The residence halls are unusually quiet.
Students often do not stay on the weekends, but when given the choice, who would?
There are rarely any activities held on campus by the University or the student organizations on the weekends.
Even when they are held, they are sparsely attended.
These events are not held on a consistent enough basis for students to recognize that activities do sometimes happen on the weekends.
The events that are hosted need to be publicized more widely in a range of forums in order to increase attendance.
When it comes to dining on the weekends, students have limited options due to restricted hours in the Dining Commons. Only brunch and dinner are served between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
And the 7 p.m. closing time is hardly accurate given that the food is often taken away approximately 15 minutes prior.
UCOOK is open later, but leaves students with fairly limited options.
Other dining locations on campus, including Sandella’s, Dunkin’, and Red Barn, are closed on the weekends.
The Rams’ Den Grille is open 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., but offers limited healthy options and does not accept meal swipes.
Beyond the Dining Commons, there is nowhere else on campus where a student can purchase food using a meal swipe on the weekends.
Residents are required to purchase a meal plan every semester, but they are basically useless on the weekends unless you can make it to the Dining Commons during its limited hours.
If a student becomes sick or is injured on the weekend the Health Center is, unfortunately, not open to treat them.
University Police will provide taxi vouchers to those who need to get to an Urgent Care. However, students will be forced to provide a copay based on their insurance.
Additionally, counseling services are not available on the weekends.
FSU can do so much better than this.
We understand there are staffing concerns as well as lower enrollment.
However, that does not mean those who stay on campus on weekends should be forgotten.
The University needs to realize that a strategy for retaining students is ensuring the student experience is at least as satisfying on the weekends as it is throughout the week.
Events need to be held more regularly during the weekends and should be better advertised.
They do not need to be big blowout events, either.
They could be as simple as a movie night in the Forum, or now that it’s warmer, an intramural frisbee game on Larned Beach.
These events could be advertisements in social media posts, through flyers and posters, or as announcements in Campus Currents.
The Rams’ Den Grille could host the RAMS on the Run program on the weekends, allowing students to grab food on the go for a meal swipe.
This would solve the issue of students not having access to food they cannot pay for with meal swipes and would not require any additional restaurants on campus to stay open.
There does not necessarily need to be a professional at the Health Center throughout the weekend, but someone could be on call in case a student needs medical attention that is not life threatening per se, but should still be treated or checked out.
This could be even through telehealth appointments.
Students should not have to wait until Monday morning to receive medical care.
The student experience includes life during the weekend.
Administrators are able to go home at the end of a work week.
But for many students, campus is their home.
Help us make it one.