About once a week, I find myself thinking that if there’s anywhere a 24-hour Starbucks should exist, it’s a college campus.
I can’t be the only student out there who’s ever wanted a latte at 3 a.m. or a place that isn’t my apartment to pull an all-nighter. Despite that, though, it seems as though every coffee shop, restaurant, and campus building is closed by 8 p.m.
Maybe it’s because Oxford is approximately 10,000 miles away from the closest civilization or because it’s too difficult to get staff that’ll accept low pay. Either way, about once a week, I find myself in desperate need of a late night snack or a 2 a.m. coffee, with nowhere to go.
Look, I understand that nobody wants to work a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. shift. But why, in a college town, does everything seem to shut down so early? Take Starbucks, for example: I’ve been to Starbucks locations that close at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. or even 10 p.m., but the off-campus location on High Street is closed by 8 p.m., as are the other three Starbucks locations in Oxford. I can’t be the only Miami student with a less-than-perfect sleep schedule, who wakes up late enough that dinner before 8 p.m. would be classified as lunch.
I’m not asking every restaurant in town to be open for 24 hours every day, but it certainly seems like there’s some missed profit in the late-night crowd.
The biggest culprit here is, of course, Miami University itself. I still fondly remember my freshman year, when King Library was open to study 24 hours, with fully stocked vending machines and a free-to-use microwave. Today, there are still vending machines, but the library closes at 1 a.m., and its beloved basement café even earlier, at 5 p.m.
Dining halls have a longer period of closure time, too. At first glance, they close at 8 p.m. — the same time they always have — but a closer examination of dining hall hours shows that dinner now starts at 5 p.m. It started at 4:30 p.m. last semester, and earlier in semesters before.
Even Armstrong closes its doors at midnight now, when it used to be at 2 a.m. my freshman year, and stops serving food even earlier. We were told years ago that the reduced hours were a temporary change during quarantine, but the temporary change has become all too permanent. For a college that doesn’t want its students doing nothing but drinking, it sure doesn’t encourage any other activities on-campus late at night.
Maybe it’s still the lasting effects of COVID. Maybe people have just realized that it’s not worth paying the staff to stay later for the few late-nighters who will come in.
Either way, it’s certainly an inconvenience to me when midterms roll around and I find myself wanting a coffee and a table at 2 a.m. Oxford has some amazing places to eat — but most of them aren’t open when I really need it.