by Alexandra Huzyk ’20
As the spring semester commences, students on the Providence College campus begin acclimating to both their new schedules and the recently altered dining hall hours.
The new hours for Alumni Hall are 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays. Eaton Street Café is open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., and on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. The Café is open on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, students can go to the Eaton Street Café’s window from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Stuart Gerhardt, general manager of the dining facilities, explained that before each semester begins, the transaction history and sales of each dining facility are analyzed.
The semester is broken down into 15 minute intervals, in order to determine what times are the busiest and where students tend to eat. From the data that was collected from the past semester, Gerhardt says that, “a higher number of people are going to the Eaton Street Café during the week” in comparison to the amount of people eating at Alumni Dining Hall. This prompted the extension of the Café’s weekday hours.
In regards to the elimination of Alumni Dining Hall’s hours on Sundays, Gerhardt explains that the same analytical approach of sales was used. Due to a lack of people making transactions on Sundays, those hours were cut. Gerhardt said, “there’s always going to be a give and take,” and that at the end of the day, it comes down to making business decisions.
To compensate for the change in Sunday hours at Alumni, more hours were put into place at the Eaton Street Café. This decision was made with the intention of providing students with a different venue, in addition to Raymond Dining Hall. “Change is hard, but we believe the altered hours will encompass more students than in the previous semester,” says Gerhardt.
“Alumni is closer than Eaton Street Café, for people who live on upper campus,” said Maggie Burke ’19. In regards to the Café, she states, “It’s only the window that’s open late, so there’s nowhere to sit and wait,” which can be a problem in the winter weather. Many students also feel that the food at Raymond Dining Hall is less appealing in comparison with Alumni Dining Hall.Colin Williams ’20 said, “I feel like the Ray food is not as high quality as the Alumni food. While Ray has a larger selection, the food at Alumni seems to be better.” Williams also shared, “I was disappointed to hear about the change in hours because I know many students on campus eat there late on the weekends.”
These new hours will remain in effect for the entirety of the semester, but will be reexamined before the next semester begins. If the transactions do not increase at the Eaton Street Café, and the student body vocalizes discontent, then the hours of the dining facilities around the campus will be reevaluated.
Another change to Alumni Dining Hall is the addition of an Asian food station. “We sent out a survey last semester seeking input as to what students would like to see to replace the Mexican theme station and the overwhelming response was an Asian concept,” said Gerhardt. “We will look to keep it current and also look at menu trends. We want it to be fun and interactive.”
Some students have also wondered why there was not a Midnight Breakfast held this past semester. Before the start of finals week, there is typically an event held in Raymond Dining Hall where students can take a break from studying and eat a late night breakfast, free of charge. However, this past semester, this event was not held. The decision to not provide a Midnight Breakfast was agreed upon by Dean Steven Sears and Gerhardt, after they observed that, “in past years, participation rates have been going down.”
“Midnight Breakfast is a tradition,” Burke said, “and it’s needed especially before finals when we’re stressed.” Williams seemed to agree, stating, “I have gone to midnight breakfast and it’s a super fun way to blow off steam before Civ exams.”
Gerhardt emphasizes that because of the overwhelming student reaction, there will definitely be a Midnight Breakfast held at the end of this semester, and it will most likely be held in the semesters to follow.