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Honors students have mixed opinions about Roots Café

This article is part three in a series addressing student reactions to the Commonwealth Honors Complex.

Collegian File Photo

The newly built Roots Café located in the center of the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community (CHCRC) has attracted students with the promise of fresh salads, brick-oven baked pizzas and hot sandwiches.

“[I eat there] probably at least once a week,” said freshman Tyler Russell. “I like the convenience that Roots provides. It’s a lot easier than walking over to Hampshire or anywhere else.”

While some students are fond of the café, there are others who think it’s not entirely convenient. One inconvenience is the fact that aside from grab and go offered for breakfast, regular meal swipes are not accepted at Roots Café.

“That’s the problem. I don’t want to spend money so I’m kind of forced into using most of my meal swipes at Berk and Hampshire,” said Russell, who has used all of his YCMPs this semester at Roots Café already.

“It would be nice if they took regular swipes, because we only have so many YCMPs,” added freshman Julia Amodeo.

Some students add that the café doesn’t have enough space or resources to serve students for lunch and dinner with regular meal swipes.

“If they did that it might be too busy,” added Russell. “I don’t know if they are built for that capacity really.”

“I’m not severely bothered because I know it’s not a dining hall, it’s not built that way. But it would kind of be nice if maybe on the weekends they took meal swipes,” said freshman Katie Hill. “It’s understandable but it’s kind of inconvenient.”

Many students added that despite having the centrally located café nearby, the traffic to Berkshire Dining Commons and Hampshire Dining Commons is usually unmanageable, since they serve students in both the Southwest dorms and CHCRC.

“We try to go early, so that it’s not crowded,” said freshman Emma Reichard of the times she has eaten at Berkshire and Hampshire. “But sometimes it doesn’t matter what time we go because it’s just ridiculous anyway.”

“I haven’t been to Berk in like two months, just because it’s not worth it,” said sophomore Dana Brown. “It’s so crowded all the time.”

Sophomore Alexa Pfeiffer added that Roots Café is simply too small to deter students from going to other dining commons and make them less crowded.

“I feel like it’s not big enough to make any difference in the dining halls,” she said.

Roots Café is also open 24/7, which some students find helpful during nights when they are up late doing homework or want to meet up with friends for a midnight snack. Sophomore Adam Haidari said that on Thursday night, he and his friends met at Roots Café at 2 a.m. after a long night of studying.

“Once we were all done studying independently, it was easy to go there because we all have access to it,” he said.

“I like having it open 24/7,” added freshman Matthew Lydigsen. “There are long nights where you’re up doing stuff during the weekends so it’s nice to say, ‘Hey, let’s go to Roots. Let’s get something to eat.’”

Craig Fasser, who has been working at the Café since it opened, says that the crowds during a late night at Roots Café vary.

“The slowest time depends on the day of the week,” he said. “Sometimes the overnight [shift] is the slowest but on Friday and Saturday nights we will still be doing some business from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. even.”

However, there are some students who think keeping the café open all hours may be a waste.

“We’ve never really taken advantage of it really late at night, at an extreme hour,” said freshman Amy Wardner.

“I can’t imagine they actually turn a profit,” added freshman Zoey Sloate. “How many people are actually getting pizza on a Wednesday, during a non-finals week, at 3:00 in the morning? The labor costs must be ridiculous.”

While many said they enjoy the food and convenient location of Roots Café, there are still some who wish it were changed or improvements were made.

“There was so much money put into this and we pay a lot to live here,” said Wardner. “It would have been nicer if we had a dining common here.”

Jaclyn Bryson can be reached at jbryson@umass.edu.

 

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