After my EN 185 class at 11 a.m., I make my way towards ResCo to put my bag in my room and to eat lunch.
But, when I make my way down three flights of stairs and to the front of the cafeteria to eat, the line is stretched all the way past the front desk and snakes through the columns of the lobby.
At this point, I have to go to Atherton to eat.
The lines are shorter at Atherton, but as I walk into the cafeteria, every table is occupied, and at times, overflowing with too many people cramped around the tabletops.
I end up waiting in various lines for roughly 10 minutes to get an entrée and spend a few more minutes grabbing all my sides and my drink.
By the time I sit down and start eating with friends, it’s nearly a quarter to one.
This overflow, I believe, is caused by the massive freshmen class this year.
With 1,067 students, it makes sense that finding a place to eat my lunch in a timely fashion is one of the harder tasks I face this year.
It is not the freshmen class’ fault that it takes me 30 minutes to get my lunch; they are just trying to get in and out like the rest of us.
I think that C-Club should start allowing meal exchanges during the lunch hour. According to Stacey Puck, director of food service, last week, “ResCo was at 670 [students] and it only has 273 seats.”
If meal exchanges were allowed, I think more students would use C-Club and therefore lessen the lines and crowds in both Atherton and ResCo.
I know some students do go to C-Club for lunch, but to purchase food, they have to use their flex dollars and because no meal exchanges are offered, lunch can end up being very expensive.
Puck said C-Club does not accept meal exchanges during lunch because, “[the large] amount of commuters we serve during dinner and also, the meal plans aren’t set up for a meal exchange at lunch time.”
If a student used flex dollars at C-Club every day for lunch, their flex dollars wouldn’t last them more than a month.
Meal exchanges would be helpful during lunch due to the fair amount of seating in C-Club. It would help eliminate lines and long waits for all students because everyone would be spread out more evenly thoughout the different dining halls.
My main qualm is that we have three dining areas on campus and with such a large incoming class I think we need to use these dining accommodations to the fullest, especially when the lunch rush is the biggest problem.
Using all three dining halls during lunch would help everyone be able to get in and get out, without worrying about being late to class.
Also, in Atherton and ResCo, perhaps more tables would help, rather than re-arranged tables.
A second dining services worker to scan ID cards in ResCo would help expedite the eating process even more.
For the given situation, I think that dining services is doing a great job keeping up with the large volume of students, but improvements are necessary.
The amount of students coming in as freshmen in the following years will most likely continue to grow due to the large amount of publicity we received from the basketball team during March Madness. Therefore, long term changes need to be implemented to help everyone’s dining experience.
In response to this year’s record-breaking freshman class, Puck said that dining services were ready. “We increased labor and C-Club added a third register,” she said. “Supervisors are also available on the floor if someone has questions.”
If meal exchanges were permitted in C-Club during the lunch hour, it would help reduce the lines in both ResCo and Atherton and provide students with ‘grab and go’ convenience if they had classes immediately following lunch.
However, there is hope.
Puck said, “The first week is always like this.”
She said by next week, lunch should be back to normal size.