Why can’t ‘Mahallah’ canteens stay open longer?

By Hannah McKloskey

There has been a long time issue with the opening and closing times of the Mahallah canteens. Many students have been complaining that the canteens do not stay open long enough for the students.

It is a big problem for students who study late on campus and go back to their rooms even later. After a long hard day of studying, perhaps until 12 mid-night, the best thing that a student can do is eat. So when the canteen is closed, students become heartbroken. So how do we fix this problem?

I have asked around a couple of Mahallah canteens and discovered the reason for such early closing times. They say that it is to prevent students from staying on campus too late. While this is for safety reasons, I still think it is better to have canteens open inside campus, rather than leaving students to fend for themselves.

Sometimes it even leads students to go off campus when they have the munchies. However, recently there have been some additions for the food cravings. Like the new snack machines that you can find. Those machines work late at night to satisfy small cravings. But the big problem still remains. It is 1.00 a.m and you are so hungry that not even junk food can satisfy you. What do you do?

I think that students should start a petition, the more signatures that we get, the more chances for the issue is raised. Once someone speaks up about the problem, soon students will realise that it is actually a big issue. After all, food is nourishment, and it helps us do better in our studies. That is why it should be available for everyone at any time.

I live in Ruqqayah where usually our shops stay open from 9 a.m to 12 mid-night. No doubt, 12 mid-night is pretty late, but not late enough. Because of the fact that we are students, we study late, for exams and assignments. I personally like to finish my studying first, and then celebrate with dinner. But sometimes I get so caught up in studying, that I forget the time. By the time I finished, it is already 12:30 a.m and the canteens are already closed.

The only thing left to do is maybe walk to another Mahallah, like the one in Ali, because they stay open later than other Mahallahs. It sounds like a simple plan, but it is rather dangerous. I have to walk all the way from my own Mahallah to the boys Mahallah which is about 25 minutes away. The best route is to go through campus. Even then it is dangerous to walk alone.

There are so many factors leading me against walking to another Mahallah’s canteen, but it is the only other option for a person at that time of the night. Unless, IIUM were to extend the working times of every Mahallah or at least the ones nearby.

This issue is very close to my heart. It is important for me to eat. I need it for energy and motivation. So when I don’t have food, I feel upset and in despair. I am sure that I am not only speaking on my behalf, but also on behalf of other students who rely on food as energy.

I usually eat 5 meals a day. Although it is rare for most people to eat five meals a day, I am rather different. I have a large frame, with my height standing at 171 centimetres and a weight of 70 kg. My BMI is a little above average, because I have bigger bones than most people. I would say I’m quite active, so my calorie intake runs out rather fast. Hence, the reason I eat so much. My body and mind are connected; if I am healthy then my brain will also be healthy. Most bodies function this way. That’s why food is important.

Next, once the issue is identified and brought up to the university’s administration, maybe they can do something about it. I’m not asking to keep the canteens open all night, but rather to have them stay open for maybe an hour or two more. The bed time of most students is around 2 a.m, so it would be best to have canteens open until about 1.00 a.m  or 1:30 a.m.

My main issue with our university is the canteen closing times. Maybe some people don’t think of food as that important, but to me and many others, it is a significant issue that is crucial to student life.

I’m sure if the issue is raised, many other students would join me. In fact, during the last Students Representative Council (SCR) election, one of the students promised to help with increasing the closing times of the Mahallah canteens, but that was last semester, and not many things have changed.

But if he raised the issue again, then it must be important. And because he won the election, it means that many of the students agree with him.***

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