Recently, Bon Appétit contracted Muzak Holdings, LLC to provide music for the Café. While we understand why Bon Appétit might be interested in playing music as an ambient background to the conversations held in the Café, we feel that the approach taken was not ideal.
Students, undoubtedly, cannot be involved in every decision made by the administration or Bon Appétit. However, due to the consolidation of dining facilities and other services in the campus center, students spend a lot of time in the building and should therefore play a role in determining its features and amenities.
The student art that is displayed on the third floor of the campus center — and selected by a student curator — serves as a good example of this type of input in practice. We think the Café and other spaces managed by Bon Appétit would better suit the needs and preferences of their customers if new initiatives were the product of collaboration among students, faculty and staff.
Based on the experiences of our editorial board, the music currently played in the Café is at times too loud for discussion or studying. Additionally, the paid service which now provides music to Bon Appétit takes this component of the campus center experience off campus. While we do commend the student who is helping Bon Appétit cater the music service to the Lawrence community, it seems there are a number of Lawrence sources that could have been asked to help with this project before a contract was signed with Muzak Holdings. For example, WLFM, Lawrence’s student-run Internet radio station, could contribute playlists, programming and media, and the Conservatory could provide recordings of ensemble or individual performances.
We hope that Lawrence-oriented options like those mentioned above will be considered the next time Bon Appétit or Lawrence staff make a decision about the services in the campus center.