J2 should be open on the weekends

Son Nguyen

UT has two all-you-can-eat dining halls: Jester 2nd Floor Dining and Kinsolving Dining. While those who live close to Kins can enjoy meals at Kins on the weekends, residents of the seven dorms in the Jester area are not so fortunate. 

J2’s unavailability on the weekends is a big issue for the students who depend on it for their daily meals. Jester alone is the largest dorm on campus, so this problem affects thousands of students. To remedy this, UT should keep both dining halls open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Because on-campus residents do not have a kitchen in their rooms, it might be harder for them to properly prepare healthy food. Even though dorms do have some community kitchens, there are not enough of them to serve all residents. The dining halls provide a greater number of healthy and affordable eating options to students, especially to those with special dietary needs. Therefore, when J2 is unavailable every weekend, students who regularly eat on campus are forced to spend money on less healthy food off campus.

Aerospace engineering freshman Grace Kirk, a Roberts Hall resident, expressed her frustration with J2 closing on the weekends.

“JCL is really expensive, especially when you’re trying to eat healthier options, a salad that will actually keep you filled up is like $8 or $10,” Kirk said. “J2 is just a lot more convenient, because it’s like $4 and they have the salad bar that you can get as many times as you want, and they have a bunch of different options that you can make it yourself.”

On-campus residents can still go to Kins Dining to eat, but college students live busy lives. The walk from the Jester to Kins is 17 minutes. During midterms and final exams, this can be a burden, because these students may need to spend all day studying. It is unfair to Jester area residents — who must trek almost two miles to Kins and back just to eat an affordable meal — that the students who live by Kins can get to Kins with a short-distance walk. 

Kirk said walking to Kins every weekend for meals is not feasible. 

“It definitely doesn’t fit in my schedule, especially if I’m studying here at the PCL, I have to put all my stuff away and walk all over there just to get a cheaper meal.”

For many students, whether they reside on-campus or off, the PCL is a popular study spot, and having an all-you-can-eat dining hall nearby would be beneficial. Students may want to quickly get healthy food from J2 to eat during breaks. Having both dining halls open on the weekends would help a lot of UT students save time and money by giving them more affordable options nearby. 

The costs of operation and the manpower it’d take to keep both J2 and Kins Dining open on the weekends is a practical concern. To remedy this, dining halls can design a limited menu that satisfies special dietary needs, while cutting out some non-essential services. UT is a world-class university — we can figure out a plan to operate both dining halls over the weekends in a cost-effective way to benefit students.

Nguyen is a government senior from Vietnam.