Students deserve weekend access to dining halls

Mallika Singh

The primary source of food for most freshmen is the various dining halls on campus. From Jester City Limits to Kinsolving’s All You Care to Eat buffet, UT offers many different dining options. On the weekdays, students can easily go to one of these dining locations and get a meal for themselves. On the weekends however, students will find that places that accept dine-in dollars have significantly decreased.

Places like J2, Jesta Pizza, Jester Java and Jester City Market all have very limited weekend hours. This means that, over the weekend, the only dine-in option on campus to get breakfast, lunch and dinner is at Jester City Limits, which is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The only other option to buy food on campus is Kinsolving. Even then, however, the options are limited. Kinsolving is only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. While Kinsolving isn’t a terrible option, many of the freshmen on living in south campus can’t always get all the way across campus on time with the narrowed hours. 

Rene Rodriguez, director of dining for University Housing and Dining on campus said this is because opening a dining location takes quite a lot of time and effort.  

“With hours and operation, we look at several different scenarios,” Rodriguez said. “We look at what it costs to open a location and we look at traffic patterns in regards to student traffic.” 

Rodriguez also said that University Housing and Dining frequently hears students’ perspectives on what the dining services should look like. Rodriguez discussed the latest addition to dining services: the Eco2Go box. Students wanted a way to take dining hall food back to their dorms, so UHD took this into consideration and created the recyclable box.

“If the student association wants to come to us and say well we want this location open, we’ll study it,” Rodriguez said. “We may even do a test thing for the next month just like we did with our Eco2Go box.” 

There are measures UT can take to expand dining options on the weekends. Rodriguez said that though it’s technically possible to keep more dining options open for longer hours over the weekend, there are consequences that would follow. 

“We are trying to be very (considerate) of our students money,” Rodriguez said. “If they want these locations open, we would talk about it, but there is a cost associated with trying to be everything for everybody.”

Thought this may be true, raised rates are better than extremely limited food options, or driving elsewhere to get food. Rodriguez said that students are welcome to attend the monthly meetings in which such policies are discussed. If enough students want this to happen, UHD will certainly consider it. 

Let’s be real – Jester City Limits is not the cheapest place to get a meal at UT. The All You Care to Eat dining locations provide far more options for much cheaper. Though Rodriguez said that rates at these areas would increase a bit if they were open over the weekend, it may be worth it to consider paying $6 instead of $4.60 for all you can eat versus $12 to $13 dollars for a meal at JCL.

Students still eat over the weekend – UT should take this into account when planning dining hours. 

Singh is an undeclared freshman from Cupertino, California.