Union Station Set to Close Its Doors by the End of the Semester

Maya Tetali-

Student customers are worried about access to late-night food choices, medicine, and last-minute school or dormitory supplies at an on-campus location. Photo by Erin Gross

At the end of the fall 2017 semester, after the campus is fully vacated and all the exams are completed and graded, Union Station will officially close it doors to the student body permanently.

The convenience store is currently located on the first floor of the Alvarez College Union, adjacent to the Center for Career Development, and stocks everything from healthy snacks to chocolate bars to last-minute toiletries like toothbrushes and detergent. Union Station also has certain items on the meal plan through its Grab and Go options and meal plan exchange.

As of the week of October 15th, Michael Wilson, the Union Station Manager, notified the employees and work-study students about the imminent closure. Many were surprised to hear of the upcoming plans.

Randi Geffrey ’20 said, “I have worked at the Union Station for nearly a year and a half through the work-study program. My usual shifts are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:00 to 2:00 in the afternoon. I usually see a good number of people come in to purchase a variety of items from food to batteries, chapsticks, and toothbrushes. Even professors and staff stop buy to quickly pick up something instead of walking all the way to the CVS.”

Work-study students are unsure about their future positions at the Union Station
Photo by Erin Gross

The immediate reaction to the closing of Union Station sparked rumors that the Center for Career Development was taking over the space to expand by adding a new conference room. However, Jeanne-Marie Ryan, Executive Director of the Center of Career Development, dispelled these rumors.

“To confirm, there aren’t any current plans for the Center for Career Development to annex the space that will be made available when Union Station closes this year. We undertook an internal renovation of the Center for Career Development space over this past summer, and have maximized usage of our current space and resources, to great effect. However, this does not rule out any possible need for expansion after we analyze the productivity and effectiveness of our space at the end of this academic year,” she explained.

Finances are the true reason behind the closing: “The business is not sustainable. Union Station has been open for about four years, but the net revenue cannot justify it staying open,” explained Richard Terry, Director of Auxiliary Services.

While there are no immediate plans in place regarding the use of the space, efforts are being made to mitigate the effect of losing Union Station.

“As of right now, we are currently negotiating new deals with the a new snack vendor to get more vending machines around campus to suit different purposes. The ideal goal is to have groups of vending machines in various locations around campus that can cover many of the services provided by Union Station,” Terry elaborated.

Josh Johnson ’19, who completes his work-study through Union Station, said, “I obviously am not too happy about the situation. I am not exactly sure what to do about replacing my work-study, but I have been working here since last year, and it seems like it is growing. A lot of people rely on it for a quick stop to get them through busy times.”

For non-student employees, Terry assures that they will not completely lose their jobs, but instead will be offered different positions through Dining Services.

When asked about the closing of Union Station, students had mixed reactions. “I have used Union Station about three times since I have attended Davidson. I really don’t think I would notice or care if it closes. The only thing that really stands out for me is that they sell green books,” commented Erin Scott ’20.

However, Julie Bennett ’19 countered, “I feel like Union Station has a nice variety of options of things they don’t really sell anywhere on or close to campus. They sell very specific, healthier options, [and it’s] always reassuring to know that those are available.”

“I am sad [upon hearing that Union Station will close]! [The employees] are super nice, and they have got salad and healthy food all the time,” added Hani Zaitoun ‘20.

Some first-years also expressed disappointment at the closure due to it being a location on campus that takes the first-year meal swipe. In response to this, Terry explained, “We are open to analyzing the situation with meal swipes and possibly making changes within the system accordingly.”

Some students rely on the Union Station for a late-night pick-me-up
Photo by Erin Gross