Weekday omelets and French toast may be on their way back to Harvard, if the Undergraduate Council has its way. In a recent, preliminary report on the aftermath of hot breakfast cuts, the UC presented the findings of a 769-student survey on wellbeing. The document detailed the dietary repercussions of the new breakfast arrangement, including a decrease in protein options that could create nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, the UC provided potential suggestions for administrative changes to dining options, such as closing two Quad houses at lunch time, in exchange for opening one Quad and one river house for hot breakfast each day. The survey data and suggestions will become the foundation for discussion at the next Committee on Student Life meeting this Thursday.
We commend the UC for moving forward on cost-neutral solutions to the current lack of hot morning options. While “bringing back hot breakfast” may seem like a tall order in the face of school-wide budget cuts, Bowman and Hysen deserve praise for setting the foundation to fulfill their campaign promise in a realistic and efficient manner.
Although the UC’s report is only a small, preliminary step forward, their suggestions for dining reform are no less sensible. We strongly support the proposal to open one Quad and one river house for hot breakfast and close two Quad houses for lunch.
Such an arrangement would ensure a quality dining experience across campus. Providing hot breakfast in both the Quad and on the River every day would help ameliorate the problem of nutritionally deficient diets suggested by the preliminary report. Students most affected by the reduction in selection—such as athletes, those with special dietary restrictions, and early risers in need of a brain boost—would enjoy an immediate increase in wellbeing.
Reinstating hot breakfast in only two houses would prevent the former inefficiency cited as the primary justification for hot breakfast cuts. Since only one House in each residential area would provide heated offerings, breakfasters would consolidate, avoiding the surplus food and service that characterized the previous system. Furthermore, given the propensity for Quad residents to eat lunch on the river, this solution would reduce lunchtime waste in the Quad. Finally, the proposal is—at least conceptually—cost-neutral. Assuming costs of providing food and services for both meals are similar, replacing two lunches with two dinners should theoretically have little impact on the HUDS budget.
Finally, we find it encouraging that an expression of strong student opinion has not gone unheard by the UC. Hot breakfast was a key issue during the presidential and vice presidential campaigns earlier this year, and the current report is clearly a response to undergraduate demand. When it comes to hot breakfast, the UC seems to be fulfilling its role by bringing student concerns to the administration. In light of this, we encourage students to raise their voices with similar force in the future and hope that the UC continues to listen.