Sodexho dining fails to support student schedule

It’s two minutes before 6 p.m., and I find myself running across the campus, hoping I’m not late again. But on a Saturday? What could be so important on a Saturday? One word: food!

With every other food venue closed, the only option of eating on campus over the weekend is the Dining Commons, which graciously leaves its doors open for about two hours, from 4 to 6 p.m.

But honestly, who eats dinner at 4 in the afternoon, especially on a Saturday?

For those students fortunate enough to have a car, those hours may not be a big deal.

But for those like me who are stranded and have next to no money on hand, the cafeteria is our only hope.

Unfortunately, my stomach doesn’t start feeling empty until seven. If I were hungry at four, it would not be a problem, but after eating lunch only a few hours before, I could use a break.

Instead, we need to adjust our eating patterns and stuff our faces in the middle of the afternoon.

I am not asking or expecting that Sodexho work extra hours and leave the Dining Commons open all day (even though it would be nice and has proven to be successful at other schools like Messiah and Drexel).

Instead, can we move the time slot to 5:30 to 8 p.m.? Even a 5 to 7 p.m. meal time would be helpful over the weekend.

Yet, I cannot complain. Other schools, like Eastern Mennonite and Grove City have even shorter time slots than we do – EMU’s weekday dinner is 5 to 6:45 and GC’s is 4 to five 5:45 – especially as EMU only offers dinner for an hour over the weekend.

For the majority of colleges with less than 5,000 undergraduates, dining hours tend to be very limited, and most meals are only offered very early in the day.

The only exception I found within such schools was York College of Pennsylvania. At YCP, some type of food, even if only continental, is offered at the main cafeteria throughout the day.

Yet, they still close at 7 p.m. for dinner, as do most other colleges.

Actually, at practically every college, no matter what size, dinner over the weekend ends by 6:30, if not earlier.

Still, Saturday night, about 9 p.m. my stomach lets me know it isn’t satisfied.

What options do I have? Other than eating out or scrounging underneath my desk for something, I have no option. No Breezeway. No Eagles Nest. Not even the Jammin’ Java.

At least most of the schools I mentioned before have some other type of café or food service open over the weekends. Eastern, with the exception of Sunday evenings, doesn’t. And they wonder why no one wants to stay here over the weekend?

Also, many other schools have an option of where to use their meal plans, both during the week and over the weekend.

While we are blessed to have the Breezeway available for lunch throughout the week to break up the monotony, why not at other times?

It’s not like it would hurt Sodexho a lot financially. Most people probably eat more food at the Dining Commons, since it is a buffet, than they do at the Breezeway. It’s just the convenience factor.

So, why not have the Breezeway as an option for a late dinner?

Throughout the week, the dinner hours are 4 to 7 p.m., making it almost impossible to eat dinner if you have a class from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

What about the athletes? If they have practice from 5 to 7 p.m., when do they eat? They could attempt to fill up at 4 or even at 4:30, but then who wants to do drills and sprint on a full stomach? And if they wait until after, what option is left than to eat junk in their room?

So much for fighting off that freshman 15.

The solution here is not to make Sodexho and its employees work around the clock. That would fix it, but we believe in justice here at Eastern (forced labor is out of the question). Instead, shift the hours around a bit.

Have continental breakfast until 10 a.m. Have dinner from 5 until 8 p.m. Offer a late night meal (it seems to work at Liberty). Have more options available where we can use other meal plans. Open up some of the other venues over the weekend. They don’t all need to be open all the time; just have something available.

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