Commentary  Vote yes for the MK fee referendum

Extra dollar is essential to improved and expanded services

This year, “consultation” and “student voice” have played a prominent role in campus discourse, especially since the closure of the Architecture Café. If we want students to be active in creating the space we want and shaping our experiences at McGill, we need to participate when given the chance. Furthermore, we need to support services for students that are also run by students; strengthening our communities and University. The services you vote for are your opportunity to directly make this happen.

For the past nine years, Midnight Kitchen (MK) has been serving pay-what-you-can vegan lunches to students, ensuring diverse food choices on campus. Originally only able to serve once weekly, and since receiving a $1.25 fee levy in 2006, MK has been able to expand to five days of service each week. But with increasing clientele on campus – along with decreasing affordable student-run food services – another dollar is necessary if MK is to continue to serve the student body.

The Kitchen’s popularity and offerings have expanded, but its fees have not. New initiatives include a second annual week of food-related events and workshops called “Put Your Politics Where Your Mouth Is.” This includes workshops such as home brewing, women in the food system, and community gardening, as well as a panel on food security. This year, room 302 in SSMU has been open everyday from nine a.m. to two p.m. as a space for students to lounge, do homework, and socialize. Finally, MK continues to provide catering for a number of groups, including Head and Hands, Student Parents Collective Cooking Network, and Climate Justice Montreal.

So what could MK do with another dollar?

With another dollar, MK could broaden its range of ingredients, allowing for more diverse meals and allergy-free options. They could fill more plates and fill them better. They could offer tea and coffee in the morning before lunch, and maybe even breakfast. With another dollar, MK can continue to create a community space in 302. That means student art, music, microwaves, and more comfortable spaces to sit, study, or just hang out.

Maybe it’s true that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but MK gets pretty close.
If you were to eat MK every day for a semester, it would come out to less than a nickel a meal. That means even if you came once a week it would cost you less than a quarter a meal.

Midnight Kitchen has the drive and desire to serve you more and serve you better. Vote Yes online through March 10 for one more dollar for the Midnight Kitchen. (And hey, even if you don’t like us, the fee is fully opt-outable). Let’s take this chance to vote and voice what kind of University we want McGill to be.

Beth Austerberry is a U1 Geography student, and Kali Stull is a U3 Anthropology student. Both are members of the Midnight Kitchen Collective, but the views expressed here are their own. They can both be reached at