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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, May 27, 2024

Editorial: Bring back Tower Café

As the Tufts Dining website states, “There’s no place like Tower Cafe.” Unfortunately, that is true: This year, there has been no Tower Café — at least not an open one.

Tower Café closed in March 2020 when Tufts transitioned to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it reopened for order-ahead beverage-only service in October 2021, it has since closed, leaving students caffeine-deprived while studying and other grab-and-go locations overwhelmed. We believe Tower Café should reopen to reduce overcrowding at other dining locations and bring community back to Tisch Library.

The infrastructure remains in the atrium where the cafe operated. There sits a waste of space that not only deprives students of in-house access to espresso but also could be used to address the long lines and overcrowding reported at other Tufts Dining locations.

Tufts Dining Services has faced complaints about long wait times since students returned to campus in fall 2020. When Carmichael Dining Center was transformed into the gluten-, peanut- and tree nut-free Fresh at Carmichael in fall 2021, Tufts Dining acknowledged long lines and extended wait times at dining locations.

Kindlevan Café in particular has been overcrowded with long lines all year. By the time Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run closed for renovations in March, Kindlevan was seeing over three times as many customers as it did when it opened in 2017.

Reopening Tower Café, in its central location, could help reduce congestion at campus dining locations. As evident by the high demand seen at Kindlevan, students seek grab-and-go options for quick meals squeezed into their days packed with academics. By opening for beverage and grab-and-go food service, Tower Café could help divert some of this foot traffic.

Reopening Tower could also re-solidify Tisch as a meeting point on campus and bring students to the library, in turn making other study spaces on campus — like the Joyce Cummings Center or the Mayer Campus Center — less congested.

And at the end of the day, a library should have a cafe. A library is where students go to study, hang out with friends, check out a book, get tech help or work on a particularly stressful group project. Coffee, tea and pastries can make a stressful assignment a pleasant endeavor — or at least a manageable one. And at Tisch, this is true all the same. It’s simple: Students should be able to grab a cup of coffee in the library.