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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SGA reopens 10 o’clock Ross

With the return of 10 o'clock Ross, students again have access to free food after dining hall hours.
With the return of 10 o'clock Ross, students again have access to free food after dining hall hours.

Last month, the Student Government Association (SGA) reinstated 10 o’clock Ross in the Fireplace Lounge, providing bagels, cereal, fruit and more to students from 10 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday.

10 o’clock Ross has been an on-and-off program for several years now, and had not been running since the spring 2022 semester until now. The purpose of the reinstatement of the program is to provide free food to students, rather than having to purchase food items after the dining halls close at 8:30 p.m.

“It started about 6 or 7 years ago with a SGA proposal,” wrote Dan Detora, executive director of food service operations, in an email to The Campus. “The SGA wanted a late-night alternative that didn’t cost students extra money like Midd Xpress or the Grille. But there were issues including theft, so we had to stop it for some time. Also, it is staffed with students through the SGA and there were times when they did not have staff to work.”

The program had previously placed a larger burden on the dining staff, but students are now spearheading the initiative. Dining services still funds and provides all the food, but it is SGA that runs the program and sets up the fireplace lounge. SGA also funds the payment of student workers who run 10 o’clock Ross.

“The new system does not impact us [Dining Services] all that much as now we are just rolling carts of food into the lounge when we close Ross,” Detora wrote. “The biggest impact is setting up the carts during the day with the food. It is much easier on us this year compared to years past.”

Despite the changes that have shifted responsibilities to SGA, some staff members have taken issue with increased duties related to the program without any new staff hires to support it, according to The Campus’ reporting.

Many students have shared positive impressions of the reinstatement of 10 o’clock Ross, which they said provides not only a way to eat without the burden of cost, but also a great social scene during the week.

“There is great turnout, and I love working there because now that it has been going on for nearly a month now, I basically see the same people each time, and it is a nice sense of community that is cultivated there, ” said Clay Rosser ’26, who works as a student monitor for 10 o’clock Ross.

“Turnout has been pretty high, but it fluctuates, and we can see more students when there are group projects or midterms going on,” he said.

Bryan Harris ’26, a sophomore senator in SGA, said that there are often at least 10 to 12 students hanging out in the fireplace lounge, but sometimes 30 or 40 people in come at one time.

“Students need to eat after 8:30 p.m.,” Harris said. “Middlebury is essentially a food desert when the dining halls close, and when some students are studying until 3 a.m., having access to free food is crucial, so I am glad SGA was able to reinstate this.”

Despite 10 o’clock Ross’ somewhat turbulent, on and off history, students are optimistic about its future. “I would be surprised if it did not continue,” Rosser said. “So many people use it every single night, and people need the food.” 

Harris agreed that the program could have a long lifespan.

“It is sustainable. It is only two hours a day, essentially eight hours a week, and the food that is given away is pretty basic and easy to handle.” 

Although its future beyond this spring is unknown, 10 o’clock Ross will be available for students for the remainder of the semester.

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Mandy Berghela

Mandy Berghela '26 (she/her) is a Local Editor. 

She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and contributing writer for the Campus. She plans to major in Political Science, with a minor in Arabic. Along with the paper, Mandy serves on the Judicial Board, social media manager for the Southeast Asian Society (SEAS), and is also involved in many campus theatre productions. On her free time, she enjoys long walks, cycling, and reading fantasy novels.