Frequent visitors of the Ag Quad may have noticed a new rush of students near Trillium after sun down over the past few weeks. While the eatery is often overrun by students during lunchtime, its doors have opened for dinner only recently — and Cornell’s student athletes helped make it happen.
After the closing of Synapsis in summer 2017, student athletes were deprived of a late-night dining option that was accessible to them from their practice locations. Working with Cornell Dining, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee pushed for an alternative option — and were presented with Trillium as the solution.
The popular food court is now open for dinner from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Former co-president of the SAAC Tori Togashi ’18 kickstarted the initiative to get an alternative dining option last school year after learning about the closing of the Weill Hall eatery.
Over the last year SAAC members have voiced their concerns that other eateries at Cornell do not match up to the level of convenience that Synapsis brought for student-athletes.
The other dining halls are either not centrally located or do not take Big Red Bucks, making it difficult for athletes to get there before they close or prior to their next obligation.
Current co-president of the SAAC Morgan Chall ’19 said that student athletes also have “exams, jobs, or night classes” that run close to their practice times.
“Our concern is [for] an actual place for people to get food that is centrally located near the athletic buildings after practice,” Chall said. “At the end of the day we didn’t care that we were losing [the food] from Synapsis.”
“Our job is really to voice the opinions [of student athletes] and to make the highest quality experience for student-athletes on campus,” Togashi said. “Issues like this where people do not have good food options for after practice if they want to go to a library or if they have a night-prelim, [are] a big deal to a lot of athletes because they need to eat.”
Togashi also recalled that the lack of late night dining options compromised her classroom experience when she had a night class last year.
“I was falling asleep in class, I was hungry, and when I’m hungry I’m distracted and not paying attention. It’s tough to have a practice that goes from 4:30-7:00 and then a night class that goes from 7:30-10:30 and not [eat] anything in that entire stretch,” Togashi said.
“I would definitely say that student athletes using their voice helped make this happen,” Chall said.
“I think it’s awesome that we got this started so soon,” Togashi said. “We started talking about options and we initially didn’t think [Trillium] was going to be an option because it takes so many people to run [Trillium],” Togashi said.
The SAAC brought the issue to the attention of Cornell Dining with the help of the Student Assembly Dining Service committee.
The support students expressed allowed Trillium to become an option: “There was so much support for opening trillium that they decided to go with it,” said Emma Bankier ’19, chair of the Dining Service Committee.
The extended hours will operate for the rest of the semester. The University will have to determine if keeping Trillium open will pay off financially, according to Togashi.
“It’s super nice to finally feel like Cornell is doing something for us and going out of their way to help the student athletes and enhance our experience,” Togashi said. “They were really on top of it and wanted to get it done as soon as possible.”