Finding a balance between late-night food options and library policy became a concern when Library West renewed its extended hours for UF students this Fall.
According to the library’s food policy sign, only snacks, Starbucks and covered drinks are allowed. Hot food, frozen yogurt, ice cream or anything requiring two hands or utensils to eat, however, are not OK to have inside.
Library West chairman Patrick Reakes said there are two primary reasons for the food policy: the smell of hot foods and the mess.
“The biggest complaint that I get from people is not being able to keep the building clean,” he said.
The library staff is trying to hear and understand students’ needs to find a happy medium.
Food incidents happen almost every day, Reakes said. Keyboards, floors and tables become greasy. Pizza boxes have been left in study rooms. Bugs are another concern.
Students can bring their own food to eat in the cafe area on the bottom floor, he said, but once they go on the escalator, no food other than snacks and drinks are allowed.
Alexis Charnas, a 22-year-old history senior, said she understands the food policy.
“If I know for sure that I’m going to study late, I’ll try to bring something from my dorm, whether it’s an apple or a bag of chips,” Charnas said.
Economics sophomore Alexandra Mazur, 19, said she thinks food would help her to stay focused while studying. Small meals and hot foods are better than snacks to have later at night, she said.
Students should eat when they are hungry, not when they are stressed or bored, according to an email from Janis Mena, a nutritionist at UF’s Student Health Care Center.
An example of a discreet, neat snack would be a mixture of whole grain cereal, nuts and dried fruit. It can survive in the backpack until needed and can be washed down with water, she said, adding that slight dehydration may cause fatigue.
Teal Strammer, a 19-year-old business administration junior, takes a break from studying for Principles of Management by eating pistachios Tuesday night on the second floor of Library West.