Bringing Drinks into Commons?

There seems to be a growing trend of bringing Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks coffee into Commons. This habit is particularly polarizing for students who don’t have the disposable income or the means to get off-campus and purchase similar drinks. Perhaps this is a wider issue than I can see, but does Commons have a policy about bringing food in? While not equal this seems to be the same issue as bringing outside foods into the dining area as well.

There are two concerns in this napkin. One is the potential for a foodborne illness and the other is the polarizing effect on students who don’t have the disposable income or the means to get off-campus and purchase trendy beverages. We do not allow food to be brought into Commons but it is not for socio-economic reasons. Instead, it is due food safety and liability concerns. We have no control over how food from other vendors is produced or how it is held after purchase by the end user. If contaminated, it could result in a foodborne illness outbreak, the source of which would be difficult to identify or to differentiate from food produced in Commons.

Beverages, however, are rarely involved in foodborne illness outbreaks so they are not of great concern. Additionally, we encourage students to bring their own personal reusable containers into Commons so that they can take out a beverage when they leave. Whether that container is one of the new mugs provided by Dining to students or another container of the student’s choice is up that person and may, in some cases, be a disposable/reusable container from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.

As for the socio-economic aspect of this concern, while we understand that it could be frustrating to those who might not have the same resources, how an individual chooses to allocate their personal funds is something over which we have no control.

Thanks for writing,


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