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Limited weekend services problematic for students

It’s Friday evening, and you’re headed into lower Usdan with a few friends to grab dinner. As you approach the cashier you dig into your pocket for your ID to use a meal swipe. Wait—it’s not in that pocket. Maybe check your jacket pocket? Nope. It’s most likely between some unknown cushions in a lounge. Getting a replacement is easy enough though, just a few dollars and you get a new ID within a few minutes. The only catch is that the Campus Card Office doesn’t open until Monday morning, so it’s impossible to receive a replacement card in the meantime. No meal swipes or easily getting into the residence hall for you.

This problem confronts Brandeisians many times a week. The problem, though, is not that of losing our ID, and does not solely rest with the Campus Card Office; the problem is that offices are not open on on the weekends, and this is a major issue with many of the vital support services offered by the university. Whether it’s having a package being processed at 4:51 on a Friday and not being able to run up to the mailroom before closing, or suffering from some unknown ailment and needing non-emergency medical care from the health center on a Saturday, campus services inconveniently shut down on the weekends.

Like any semi-urban area, Brandeis is a center of activity seven days a week. In a city, the post office operates and delivers on Saturdays and doctors are available at all times if one requires non-emergency room worthy medical attention. Here, however, if we get a mail delivery processed at 4:51 on a Friday, chances are that we won’t be able to make it to the mailroom in those last nine minutes of it being open. We will be forced to lose time and wait a weekend before we can receive potentially important packages. If we have a medical concern, we may be forced to go off-campus and visit an urgent care location in Waltham, or wait it out until Monday or Tuesday (with the health center sometimes requiring 24-hour notice) before being examined. If we have a housing problem to sort out (or a lockout from your room), the Department of Community Living will not be open to help us either, leaving our options limited to campus police intervention or, for non-emergencies, waiting until Monday.

But what impacts Brandeisians the most is when we lose an ID card on a Friday. The Campus Card Office doesn’t open until the following Monday, and our ID is our life, literally opening the doors of the university and allowing us to eat. In the meantime of not being able to swipe to acquire food, we must choose from several options that don’t involve meals, WhoCash or dining points. We can lobby friends/significant others to expend guest meals, we can spend cash or use a debit/credit card at a dining hall or other food location or we can shop for the frequently overpriced comestibles at the C-Store.

Services are crucial to the smooth running of the university for its students, but most students don’t consider weekend closings to be a problem until they hit close to home in the form of an inaccessible package, closed health center, lost key or missing card.

Of course, offering weekend services would be an added expense to the university, but some expenses are often necessary to assume. There are, however, ways for the university to minimize extra expenses and still offer needed weekend functions to students. Times of opening and closing can be changed to better reflect when students most need the services, shifts can be staggered differently, and services do not necessarily always need to be up to full fledged capacity each day in order to still be of use.

Perhaps the next time you reach into your pocket to find that you are without an ID on a Friday evening, you may be confident in that a new card is just as available the following day as it is during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.

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