It’s no secret that on-campus dining has undergone some changes since the recent Chartwells takeover. Unfortunately, more accommodating dining hours were not among these.
Ask any resident student here at St. John’s about campus dining, and they are sure to tell you about the short hours and the inconveniences they cause.
Montgoris Dining Hall, the main dining hall for resident students, stays open until 8:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.
Montgoris doesn’t open until 10:30 a.m. on the weekends, and closes at 7:30 p.m. from Friday to Sunday.
This poses an issue for students who want to grab an early weekend breakfast before heading into the city, or students who do not wake up until noon and will not need dinner until 9 p.m. Some students are not around during Montgoris’ short dinner hours due to a late class or other activity.
The current hours create a serious inconvenience for students, and make the dinner hours much too crowded as everyone tries to get food before closing time.
While Marillac Food Court is also a good place to eat on campus, its weekend hours are worse. Marillac closes at 6 p.m. on Fridays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and does not open its doors on Sundays.
This leaves the Library Café as the only alternative source of hot food on campus, and that too closes before 6 p.m. on weekends.
The St. John’s dining page on the University Web site boasts, “$1 Million in Upgrades at Montgoris Dining Hall Enhance Students’ Dining Experience on Queens Campus.” But the quality of food does not solve the issue of insufficient dining hours.
For an institution of St. John’s size and caliber, the issue of inconvenient dining hours is quite puzzling.
Most other large private universities offer early morning and late night food resources for their resident students, an approach St. John’s should look to emulate.
According to its Web site, New York University offers five main dining halls to its resident students, not including various other cafes and eateries.
These include the Palladium Food Court which stays open until 10 p.m. every night of the week, and the Weinstein Food Court which serves hot food until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on the weekends.
The Fordham University Web site also details their flexible dining hours, including a Student Deli that stays open until midnight every night, and the Millennium Grille which stays open until 1 a.m. seven days a week for “late night burgers and Freshens smoothies!”
The bottom line: residents’ dining needs are being overlooked. Does it really make sense for hours to be shorter on the weekend, when students typically get up later and stay out later? Let your opinion be heard by filling out the “Let’s Talk” surveys at Montgoris the next time you eat.
If St. John’s hopes to continue the transformation from its commuter school image, adjusting the dining hours for its residents would be a logical place to start.