Why Do Cafes Have to be "Modern"

Do you ever just return on campus and realize that one of your favorite dining locations looks completely different? And foreign? Not in a good way? They call it “renovation.” You know, to make it better, to make it feel more “modern,” like it belongs in the polite society that Dartmouth is. But no.

    I call it gentrification. 

    This cafe used to be the go-to for people holed up in the library and need something quick to eat. It staffed the most diverse group of students and was a safe space for marginalized students. Most of my friends live in that cafe because of its convenience and “homeyness.” After its gentrification, the case of refrigerated foods are moved to the side to reveal the cashier and a new clear, glass cabinet of sandwiches and pastries, which students cannot take themselves but have to ask an employee to prepare it for them. On top of that, the cafe now partners with Starbucks, which already comes with its socioeconomic discriminations. Here comes the most complained-about issue after the gentrification. The lines. Are. So. Long. The primary reason people came to the cafe was because of its quick service. Students could grab a sandwich in between their three classes. Now, they can’t. I was going to the cafe for the first time this term and was shocked at the long line. As I waited in line for a granola bar, I heard a girl come up to her friend in line ranting, “I waited 30 minutes for a PB&J. This is ridiculous.” Ridiculous, indeed.