Dining facilities adjust to new hours
The operating hours of several dining halls across campus have changed as a part of a process Joe Oster, associate vice president of auxiliary services, calls experimenting.
“We met with the Student Government Association and the University Residence Government people back in December – Matt Sikorski, Sean Phelan and Justin Schwendeman – to talk about the success of the fall dining hours and what needed to be changed based on input from students,” Oster said. “We went with Chartwells at a meeting and tried to analyze things to take care of students’ needs at once and adjust the hours.”
According to the proposed dining hours for spring 2012, Paws is now open until 2 a.m. Monday through Friday.
In the Towson Center, the Tiger Express eatery will close at 2:30 p.m., a half hour earlier than last semester.
In the West Village Commons, the dining hall will no longer serve breakfast and open at 11 a.m., but will close a half hour later at 8 p.m. Einstein Bros. Bagels is now open on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jamba Juice will open on weekdays three hours later at 10:30 a.m. Coyote Jacks will open at 4:30 p.m. on the weekends, which is more than seven hours later than last semester.
Lastly, Outtakes will no longer stay open until 2 a.m. on any day of the week.
“The biggest change is Outtakes and Paws,” Oster said. “Everything we tried to do we based on trying to provide students with what was requested as well as not increase charges to Chartwells. It’s a give and take with the things we could do.”
Some students have mixed feelings about the new dining hall schedules.
Freshman biology major Shaderra Turner, a Residence Tower resident, said the extended hours for some eateries are great, but the trips across campus on weekends are inconvenient.
“Overall, Paws staying open is a good thing. But because it is winter time, we’d have to walk in the cold in the nighttime,” she said. “I also think Newell should be open later ,until maybe 9 o’clock, and open on weekends. Walking all the way from the Residence Tower to the Glen is a hassle in the morning, which is why some kids wait until later in the day to get something to eat.”
Another student concern is the cost of food as a result of some of the time shifts, according to Kelli Ingram, a junior communication studies major and Towson Run resident.
“If they’re closing breakfast every day at the Commons, I would rather them not,” Ingram said. “Jamba Juice and Einstein’s are expensive. I’d have to pay two meals for those, and I don’t want to run up bills on that. I’d rather just spend one meal for all you can eat. They should keep it like it was.”
Oster said that none of the changes to the West Village Commons are set in stone and are subject to change based on student feedback.
He said he expected some students to not agree with the new tweaks.
“These dining halls are designed to serve 1,000 plus meals a day and at certain times only getting 100 people,” Oster said. “It’s not cost- effective. It’s a balance of great service, but also looking at what’s cost effective. We try to take a position from all different angles. We ask, ‘Do we really want all our facilities open all the time if students will have to pay a high price for those programs?’ That is going to be a challenge for us as we go forward – balancing dining hours based on what everyone wants and doing things the most efficient way.”