Continuous hours in the Dining Commons were implemented this semester, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. In past years, the cafeteria was only open for three meal times each day.
Rick Harmon, food service director, has not heard any negative responses about the new service.
“The new hours are going great,” said Harmon. “I am getting nothing but positive remarks from our students in regards to being able to come and go as they please throughout the day.”
“The mornings are definitely the busiest,” he added. “Hot breakfast has increased, but the continental breakfast [from 8:15 – 10 a.m.] has really been the busiest time of the day.”
All residential students are required to be on the unlimited continuous meal this year, though in reality, the meal plan is not unlimited. Currently, students cannot exceed 75 scans per week.
“I had to put a number into our card system for starting out and I was told to go with 75 meals per week,” said Harmon. “I think 75 is a good number to begin with. Think about it … how many people are going to come in that much?”
Students are not allowed to enter the cafeteria an unlimited amount of times on the weekend either.
“The weekends are the same as years past; no unlimited meal service on weekends, [with a maximum of] six meals,” said Harmon.
Without continuous hours, many students were forced to skip meals because they were not able to make it to the cafeteria in time before it closed.
“[Last year] I missed meals all the time because of back-to-back classes and ensembles,” said sophomore Emmy Moore.
“The convenience of the unlimited meal plan has started out in a favorable manner with our students. I see athletes coming in at 3:30 p.m. to get a light snack before practice,” added Harmon. “I saw the soccer team come around 3 p.m. [last week] to have something before they left for their game.”
Sophomore Alex Martel also prefers the continuous hours.
“I like the new Caf hours. I don’t have to worry about missing [meal times]. The quality hasn’t changed, which is good,” said Martel.
The new hours also have a positive effect for student workers.
“As an employee, the hours are more flexible. I can get more hours in without working a [late] shift,” said senior Matthew Gilbert.
“Staffing has definitely increased during these longer hours, but not to a huge degree,” said Harmon.
Thus far, the new continuous hours are a hit among students, according to Harmon.