Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Early risers face challenges with University building hours

Illustration by Shveta Shah
Some students on campus rise with the sun. Weinberg freshman Joshua Cheng said waking up early has made him more productive.

Waking up at sunrise and then having 9 a.m. classes might be most college students’ nightmare — but for some students, getting up early is the perfect way to start their day.

However, University building hours can often make it challenging for students who wake up early. The earliest any campus dining hall opens on weekdays is 7 a.m., and Main Library and Deering Library both open at 8 a.m. — barring reading and finals weeks, when libraries are open for 24 hours — which can leave early risers with few available options for eating or studying in the mornings. On weekends, Foster-Walker Complex West and Elder Dining Hall are not open until 10 a.m., and Foster-Walker Complex East does not open until 11 a.m.

The one exception to this is Mudd Library, which is available to students 24/7, but students living on South Campus say this can often be inconvenient due to the long walk.

Weinberg freshman Joshua Cheng said he wakes up at 6 a.m. every weekday. Getting up early each day was not something he initially planned to do during his first year at Northwestern, but he said it has made him more productive.

“We’re paying so much to be at this school, and I feel if I’m spending my tuition sleeping, that’s probably the worst possible way,” Cheng said.

Cheng said he’s always the first one inside of Allison Dining Hall in the mornings.

Representatives from Northwestern Dining said hours of operation are based on traffic data and student feedback. Mornings from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. are the slowest times during the day at all dining halls, according to University data.

Communication sophomore Sam Bessler also said productivity is a reason he wakes up so early.

“I personally work best when there is natural light in the world, so beyond 7 p.m., especially in the winter beyond 5 p.m., I find it super hard,” Bessler said.

Not all early risers live on campus.

Communication junior Sophia Gambill now lives off-campus, but during her first two years at NU, she said she had to make adjustments to her study schedule because of library hours.

“Occasionally, I would want to go straight to the library to get work done after waking up, but a lot of time, the library wouldn’t open until 8 a.m.,” she said. “So, that would mean I would just take a lot longer at breakfast or try and rearrange my day to get work done.”

Since trading the dining hall for her own kitchen, Gambill said breakfast has become an easier part of her routine.

For students like Bessler, who prefer to study in common areas, campus library hours might not be an inconvenience. However, students like Cheng said they would prefer a change.

Representatives from Northwestern Libraries said current hours reflect an adjustment from the 2022-2023 academic year.

“Northwestern’s libraries are committed to serving the research and study needs of Northwestern’s scholars, and we welcome community input as we evaluate our options for the future,” a University spokesperson told The Daily.

Northwestern Libraries representatives said there are no current plans to adjust library hours this year, but added that they will continue to monitor library use and make adjustments as needed.

Cheng said having even minimal changes to building hours would be beneficial to early risers. He said this could mean adjusting hours on weekends, when buildings open even later than they do on weekdays.

“A really great solution for our school is to have an early dining option for those on campus,” Cheng said. “It could be one on South (Campus) and one on North (Campus) instead of all the dining halls opening early. I believe the library should be able to be opened earlier. Those are the biggest two that inconvenience me and other people that would be awake at that time.”


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