In the coming weeks, Rice University Housing and Dining will be introducing a Saturday night dinner option for students who wish to dine on campus (see p. 1). Going off campus for Saturday night dinners is a long-standing tradition for many, with students generally being encouraged to go “beyond the hedges” and explore the city of Houston. However, we may sometimes forget that this is just one of many aspects of social life at Rice that requires a certain degree of economic privilege.
Last week, the Thresher reported that low-income students at Rice face barriers to accessing various opportunities such as student life and extracurriculars, according to a recent survey conducted by the Student Association. Given this context, we applaud H&D for taking tangible measures to address an aspect of student life that many may take for granted, but that some may find financially inaccessible.
While H&D has still not finalized details on the pricing, payment and food options available for Saturday night dinners, it is critical that the potential for this opportunity to reduce barriers to accessibility are fully maximized.
Currently, a single meal at the servery costs $8, so if students have to pay that amount for a Saturday dinner using their 50 tetra points, that allows for only six such meals a semester. Thus, we encourage H&D to look into lowering the price of Saturday meals, and possibly offset the decreased price by reducing the amount or variety of the food that is served at the time.
We hope that this is only the beginning of ongoing concrete changes in our community to ensure that the Rice experience is increasingly more inclusive to students from all backgrounds.