University Housing and Dining is rolling out operational changes this semester that give dining hall-goers more options than they had in previous years.
Rene Rodriguez, UHD director of dining, said the expanded dining hours and unlimited swipes implemented in the two buffet-style dining halls — J2 and Kinsolving Dining — will give incoming freshmen more flexibility to dine how they want.
Rodriguez said J2 and Kinsolving Dining will now be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m to make them less congested. Previously, the dining halls were open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We made some major operational hour changes this year,” Rodriguez said. “In high schools, (students) have certain times to eat lunch, so a lot of (freshmen) are still in those habits. After the school year starts, they will then pick the best times for them to come in and eat in our dining halls.”
Root Bahlbi, human development and family sciences sophomore, said she would have eaten at J2 more often last year if it were not for the shorter dining hours.
“Something I would have done differently is not eating at (Jester City Limits) so much because it cost a lot more compared to J2,” Bahlbi said. “But J2 (closed) early and (wasn’t) open on the weekends.”
Rodriguez said another change is the switch to unlimited swiping in the buffet halls, instead of having each swipe deduct a few dollars out of a student’s meal plan. People without the unlimited meal plan have to pay around $10 to eat in the dining halls, according to the UHD website.
“(The unlimited meal plan) gives our students the option … to come in at any time, as many times as they want throughout the day,” Rodriguez said. “If they want to come in the morning and have a bowl of cereal before they go to class, they can do that now … without feeling like they have to get their money’s worth and sit there for an hour.”
With all the changes, UHD is also still offering a variety of different types of cuisine to choose from, including “Hummus Bar,” “World’s Fair” and “Farmer’s Garden." Retail facilities, such as Jester City Market or Kin’s Market, are also available for students to pick up snacks, drinks or frozen meals.
In order to plan out what they want to eat, diners can look at the menus, ingredients and nutrition facts for the day on UHD’s website. Exercise science junior Georgeanna Hoey, who is vegetarian, said she thought Kins and J2 catered to her dietary restrictions better than the retail locations.
“The cafes, like (Littlefield Patio Cafe) … won’t necessarily have as many options as the buffets, and the options they do have really sucked on your Dine In Dollars,” Hoey said.
Hoey said she indulged more at the dining halls when she was a freshman and wished she would have eaten healthier.
“When I came here, I was confronted with all this sugar,” Hoey said. “Like all this dessert just constantly out there. I wish I would have kept my healthy eating straight because it was a little bit harder to get back to it.”