Green Wave Grille deepens divide between students, student-athletes

If you have never heard of the Green Wave Grille, you are not alone.  Only student-athletes seem to know about it. The Grille is a new dining hall, introduced this year, that was designed specifically for student-athletes. It offers more nutritious options than Bruff Commons to boost athletic performance.  

At face value, the Green Wave Grille probably sounds like a great idea. They provide new, higher quality food. If you’re a student-athlete, however, your swipes no longer work at Bruff.

Tiana Watts | Views Layout Editor

 

The Tulane athletic department believes the Grille improves the “student-athlete experience.” Though the food may improve athletic performance, the Grille damages the student-athlete college experience by continuing to separate student-athletes from the general population.

Steps like these prove that many people still view student-athletes as just athletes. In fact, it often seems that the “student” in “student-athlete” is an afterthought, not a priority. By furthering the physical separation between student-athletes and the rest of Tulane, the Grille reinforces a cultural rift between us. It sends the message that we are separate groups that ought to remain separated.

To an outside viewer, eating separately from other students may not seem like a huge sacrifice. We get a high-quality meal, and we can always be part of campus life at some other time during the day, right?

The truth is more complicated than that. Student-athletes have early morning workouts, practice and games every weekend during the season, which often require us to travel across the country. On top of that, we are still taking classes like everyone else.

The little time we have left over after athletics is spent on daily readings, assignments, papers and studying. There is little or no time remaining for student-athletes to meaningfully impact the Tulane community. When we lose any chance to interact with the rest of campus, even a small one like daily dinners, we can feel the impact.

Student-athletes have more to offer than their ability to perform on the field. College is where people have the opportunity to grow into functioning adults by accepting more responsibility and interacting with new people. College athletes are already in a bubble due to their demanding schedules. The Grille strengthens the bubble, making the athletes more distant from Tulane than ever.  

Most of all, this is unfair to the athletes, who are already forced into a one-track mindset. The Grille strengthens this mindset: “I’m for athletics, that’s it.” By taking away the chance to interact with people beyond our athletic world, we lose an incredible opportunity for personal growth. How much can I grow if every third conversation I have is about how to stop the cutoff block on the back side of the inside zone?

The Grille does a disservice to the student-athletes as people, and the athletic department should choose policies that encourage our athletes to engage with the community instead of living separately.