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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UHD changes dining hall furniture, met with mixed student reactions

Naina Srivastava
Statistics and data science freshmen Rishida Saquib and Madison Rudkin eat dinner at Kins Dining on Jan. 29, 2024. Kins Dining, Jester City Limits and J2 Dining all received makeovers over winter break.

All three campus dining halls received a makeover during winter break to “enhance the dining experience for the campus community,” a University Housing and Dining spokesperson said. 

UHD decided to replace the over-a-decade-old furniture in Kins Dining, Jester City Limits and J2 Dining last summer and made layout changes based on how students historically used the dining hall and creating seating zones, said Cailin Rosborough, UHD associate director of marketing and communication. Dining halls used to primarily have community tables. Now, they include a variety of seating styles, including low tables, high tables, 2-tops, 4-tops and community tables. 

While some students like the changes, others find them awkward and inconvenient. 

Civil engineering freshman Alex Gonata said he personally likes the change because of the increased variety in seating.

“If you’re just basing it off aesthetics, I’d say it looks more dynamic because we actually have different levels of tables now,” Gonata said. “It’s just that it feels more awkward because back then we (had) longer tables.”

Rosborough said the new furniture allows more individual seats than seating options in the past. Previously, Kins Dining seated 404 people and J2 Dining seated 554. Now they seat 424 and 654, respectively. J2 Dining opened three additional glass rooms.

Like Gonata, mechanical engineering sophomore Yanely Molina said she enjoys the look of the new furniture. However, Molina said she dislikes the new seating arrangement. She said approaching other students at those tables feels awkward.

“Sometimes I’m in my room and I’m like ‘Oh I kind of want to go to Kins’ and then I’m like ‘Uh, nevermind, I’m not gonna go,’ because I don’t want to eat alone or go through the trouble of having to ask someone if I can sit with them and having to look for a seat,” Molina said.

Neuroscience freshman Tina Grace said she believes the new layout is ridiculous and impractical. Grace said she’s seen students eating on the floor during busy times.

“If I come and see that, I just leave,” Grace said. “I feel hungry for the rest of the day after my parents are paying for me to eat.”

Gonata said he also knows students who have stood or sat on the floor of Kins Dining to eat during busy times. He attributes this to students being too afraid to sit with others, rather than a complete lack of seating in the dining hall. 

Rosborough said UHD has the option to change the layout based on need because the furniture is not fixed in place. She said UHD is also open to student feedback.

“We have seen students approaching people with empty chairs and asking if they can sit there,” Rosborough said. “So this is also a helpful thing for community building, meeting new people (and) just using the available space based on open chairs.”

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