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Talia Balakirsky: Eliminating J Street will benefit freshmen

Talia Balakirsky, a junior double majoring in journalism and political science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

If GW’s location didn’t already make it a unique college campus, it definitely is now. Over the summer, officials closed J Street – the one dining hall on the Foggy Bottom campus. Although some parents and new students might be worried about freshmen finding places to eat, eliminating the dining hall should be a relief for GW students.

Now, all undergraduate students can spend their dining cash freely at independent eateries around campus and beyond, and not spend anything at a lackluster dining hall. Closing J Street encourages students to venture off campus to find places to eat that accept our meal plan money.

As students living in a city, freshmen should find their ways around the District sooner rather than later. With dining cash options slightly off campus, freshmen have more of a reason to escape the Foggy Bottom bubble.

GW is in no respects a typical university so a traditional dining hall isn’t a necessity when so many students juggle going back and forth from classes to internships to the National Mall. It has always been more satisfying, and at often cheaper, to dine at restaurants near campus that accept GWorld cards — like Whole Foods and Roti.

This year, GW offers more than 90 options for on-campus and off-campus dining, but some students students may be unaware of the laundry list of options of where they can spend their dining cash. And although many options are near campus, dining cash reaches much further off campus. In Georgetown, students can use their GWorld cards at a number of restaurants, including Los Cuates and Café Tu o Tu. Students can eat at popular D.C. eateries, like Buredo and Wicked Waffle, using dining cash, too.

As a freshman, I didn’t venture outside of the GW bubble as much as I should have, because I thought everything I wanted and needed was on or near campus. As an upperclassman, I have come to realize that there are amazing opportunities to take advantage of outside of GW. Had I been pushed to travel outside of the bubble my freshman year, I likely would have taken advantage of unique D.C. opportunities when I first came to GW two years ago.

If you’re really looking for a cafeteria-style meal, there’s always Pelham Commons on the Vern. But with all of the restaurants around D.C., getting lost every once in awhile trying to find the best spot that accepts GWorld will be a whole lot more helpful to freshmen later in their GW experiences — and it might just be faster than trying to catch the Vern Express during rush hour.

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