If you’re a UPEI student, chances are that you’re living in the library during this part of the semester. It’s crunch time. Essays are due, assignment deadlines loom, and the weight of exams presses increasingly harder on your shoulders. There’s little relief from this academic pressure until you walk out of that last exam, eager to leave it all behind for three weeks, before facing it again next semester. The only solace that comes close to easing the stress we all feel at this time of year is the smell and taste of refreshing coffee from Samuel’s Café. Conveniently located in the “Pit” inside the library, this café eliminates the need to face the blistering cold for your small reward of caffeine. Serving everything from coffee and sandwiches to cold drinks and more, the café has become a cornerstone of the library. However, in recent weeks, when we needed it most, this café was temporarily closed.
The past few weeks have seen the café shut down and covered. The once open and inviting café has been replaced by construction signage and darkness. The only explanation for this disheartening sight was an email sent by UPEI about a month ago, stating that the “Pit” would undergo renovations. Like me, you probably skimmed the contents of the email to see the fate of Samuel’s and sighed with relief when it stated that Samuel’s would return early next year.
Yet, while I was pleased that Samuel’s would be back, I found the timing upsetting. Exam time is when students practically live in the library, not leaving until long after sunset. It’s when most of a student’s bloodstream is replaced by coffee and energy drinks to keep up with studying. This is when Samuel’s is needed most. To see those responsible for renovations decide that now is a good time to close a café in the busiest building on campus is frustrating.
Antwaun Rolle, a Political Science student at UPEI, also sees the lack of foresight by UPEI in closing a café during one of its busiest months. “It’s dumb, plain and simple. All I can say is it’s dumb,” he exclaimed.
Now, to get your caffeine fix after hours of studying, you must brave the elements of PEI winter and head to either the AVC café or the Student Centre. This is where you’ll find the notoriously long line at Timmies, or the usually busy Fox and Crow.
On a positive note, it’s great that the Pit will see increased services and modernization. It’s an ideal spot for some offices and an open area for students to gather near a café serving drinks and food for study breaks. The Pit was in dire need of upgrades, so I’m pleased to see UPEI recognizing the importance of this space for students and staff who frequent the library throughout the year. Regardless of whether you were a Samuel’s regular or not, the lack of consideration for the lost revenue for Samuel’s during the winter final exam season is a disappointing oversight by UPEI.
By: Devon Thistle