Trojan Grounds has reversed its decision to decrease its hours of operation, following heavy student protest. The convenience store and coffee shop will return to its 24-hour schedule Monday.
TroGro announced last week it would begin closing from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., a decision that drew much anger and disappointment from the student body.
Kris Klinger, director of USC Hospitality, said the decision to restore the original hours came after he received hundreds of emails from students, who brought up safety concerns and other issues.
“Some of the emails we received were powerful and moving, and made good arguments,” Klinger said. “Some of the safety concerns that the students mentioned were extremely valid. If they wanted a snack between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., they would have to go off campus, and it’s not as safe as it is on campus.”
Klinger explained the previous decision to close TroGro between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. was due in part to a low level of student traffic during those hours as well as a fiscal responsibility to allocate the university resources to areas of need.
After seeing the reaction from students, however, USC Hospitality realized the best decision for the university would be to have TroGro open 24/7 this semester and reallocate the resources to make it possible.
“USC students are very intelligent and well spoken, and they know how to get a message across without making us feel pressured,” Klinger said. “This decision has a lot to do with the students. We want to hear what students have to say and we’ll continue to keep doing that.”
USC Hospitality will determine this summer if the decision to return TroGro to a 24-hour convenience store and coffee shop is permanent.
“TroGro will remain open 24 hours for the rest of the year, and we will then meet and talk with student leaders and administration,” Klinger said. “The goal is to have some sort of offering that is 24/7 on campus.”
Klinger said there was a common misconception among emails he received from students, however.
“Some of the students said that [the university is] a profit-making entity, and we’re not,” Klinger said. “Any of the dollars spent by USC Hospitality stay at the university, either for the employees or to fund future growth for any different changes we may make.”
Christine Coner, a freshman majoring in business administration-cinematic arts, said although she is excited about the change, she wishes students could have received personal responses from the administration.
“I know people who emailed USC Hospitality and other members of the administration who were a little frustrated that they weren’t getting an individual response,” Coner said. “I know that’s kind of hard for them to do, but it still would have been nice. But we’re all still glad that they listened to what we had to say.”
Tim Sae Koo, USG’s director of University Affairs, met with Klinger and Phillip Valdez, associate director of operations at the Campus Center, after learning how students felt.
“My response was to go talk with Kris and Phil and ask for any information to see what we could do to streamline the communication between students and administration,” Sae Koo said. “We wanted to listen to the students because we are basically their representatives, and we leverage their voices to the administration.”
Sae Koo said to make TroGro’s hours of operation permanent for years to come, students should continue to actively demonstrate their support.
“The only thing we can really do if this decision is not made permanent is to gather student input,” he said. “The focus of the administration is that they are here for students.”
Across campus, students are expressing happiness with how the administration responded to their emails.
“It’s great that they took our emails into consideration, even though they had already made the decision and formed their own opinion on the matter,” said Sharon Kim, a sophomore majoring in occupational therapy.
Employees are also reacting positively to the news as many had previously shown concern over how the time changes would affect the number of hours they could work.
“[Employees] are being made aware of it, and I know they are all very excited,” Klinger said. “Their hours were reduced, so this will be a positive move in a number of ways. Employees get more hours, and students get TroGro open 24/7.”
Kate Armstrong, a freshman majoring in political science, said she is anxiously waiting for TroGro to be open again in the early morning hours.
“I’ll definitely be coming back there at 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning,” she said.