On Friday, Sept. 27, the Dunkin’ Donuts on Central Street was closed for unannounced reasons. A sign posted outside the shop’s door read: “Please visit us at our Linden Street Location.” A short walk from Wellesley College campus, Central Street Dunkin’ was for many students an easily accessible, off-campus place to unwind with cheap donuts and coffee; others used the café for socialization and study. For a few, the Dunkin’ was their place of employment.
Other than Dunkin’ and the trusty CVS, relaxation for Wellesley College students is a rare sight on Central Street. Endearingly nicknamed “the Ville”, the street is comprised mostly of upper-echelon restaurants, expensive boutiques and the one odd lacrosse store. The only other cafes in town are Pete’s Coffee, Bruegger’s Bagels and Starbucks, whose prices are often inaccessible for students more likely to grab free coffee from the Emporium or dining halls. Unlike most other college towns, the Ville lacks sufficient space where students can affordably escape the campus whether to do school-work, socialize, or enjoy a coffee.
Most students interact with the town of Wellesley through working in the shops that serve Wellesley’s ridiculously wealthy inhabitants. As someone who has worked in the Ville for the past three years doing food service, these jobs are frequently thankless. Quite frankly, Dunkin’s $2 coffees acted as an affordable pick-me-up that made the experience tolerable for blue collar workers — not only minimum wage students — many of whom are immigrants who commute from nearby towns and construction workers.
Dunkin’ was one of the few places with food cheap enough for students to eat guilt-free off campus, and with its closing more students will be encouraged to remain in the stress bubble to socialize and study. Jobs, limited on campus and even sparser in the Ville, will be tough to secure by recently-unemployed students at this point in the semester.
Dunkin’s closing is emblematic of the increasing divide between the town of Wellesley and the college. Its closing will worsen the already persistent issue of lack of space on campus, made obvious by the housing crisis, displacement of various orgs and the increasing number of students studying in common areas. With more and more townies using Wellesley College campus to walk their dogs, jog and picnic with their children, the town of Wellesley is further proving its disregard for student life. Students felt unwelcome in the Ville before Dunkin’s closing and even sometimes on campus amidst townies; the closure of the store and the sign’s suggestion that consumers check out the much farther Linden location is evidence of this disregard.
What kept the Ville recreational for students was Dunkin’ Donuts. Maybe CVS can set out a table and chairs for its guaranteed influx of displaced student shoppers.