While the return of the newly renovated Cabot Science Library has pleased many Harvard students, one place is conspicuously missing: Greenhouse Cafe. The beloved eatery will be replaced by Clover Food Labs, a decision that has prompted mixed student opinions. While we appreciate the new features of the library, we are disappointed in the administration’s choice to substitute Clover for Greenhouse Cafe.
We acknowledge that there are those who enjoy eating at Clover, but the niche vegetarian chain likely does not represent the preferences of the student body as a whole. Greenhouse Cafe offered a variety of foods, such as Starbucks coffee, chicken tenders, burritos, sushi, and pizza. Especially since the nearest Clover location is only a short walk away, the addition of Clover in the Science Center has done little to add to the range of dining options that students have.
This highlights an unfortunate lack of student input in the decision. While focus groups were formed in late 2015 to solicit feedback on the proposed design, there was no mention of a change in food offerings. In fact, Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven told The Crimson in an emailed statement from June of 2016 that those in charge of the renovations planned on re-opening the cafe. Given that administrators considered student input for major renovations to the Houses and Memorial Church, the lack of feedback in this case is disheartening.
Moreover, while students could use BoardPlus—funds for eating out provided by the dining plan—at Greenhouse Cafe, it is still unclear whether Clover will have that same flexibility. We are concerned that this decision will reinforce class barriers by removing a key affordable payment option for low-income students. Given that Cabot Library’s new renovations stem from Harvard’s Common Spaces Initiative, a program meant to create areas for collaboration, it would be ironic for Clover’s omission of BoardPlus to make the space less open. We urge the administration to negotiate with Clover such that students can use BoardPlus to pay for their food.The unexpected replacement of Greenhouse Cafe with Clover is irksome. Greenhouse served as a nexus of the community with its central location and opportunity for students to cheaply eat lunch. The arrival of Clover, especially should it not accept BoardPlus, does the opposite. If the University wishes the renovated space to be a truly common and collaborative environment, it must reconsider its choice.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.
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