UC Survey Indicates Support for Hot Breakfast in Houses

Upperclassmen would eat in the mornings more often if hot breakfast options were available in the College’s Houses, according to a survey conducted earlier this semester by the Undergraduate Council’s Student Life Committee.

The results of the survey, organized by Leverett House Representative Jullian A. Duran ’18, indicated that 92 percent of 1216 undergraduates surveyed “want something more than what is currently offered” for breakfast—whether that was “basic warm breakfast options” such as eggs and cooked meat, or “full breakfast options” akin to food currently offered in Annenberg Hall, the freshman dining hall.

Among surveyed student athletes, that figure is 97 percent.

“A lot of athletes mentioned how inconvenient it was to not have enough protein,” Duran said. “Athletes do a lot in the mornings; we should provide them a lot to eat.”

UC Student Life Committee Chair Berkeley Brown ’18 said during a UC meeting in March that the survey “started out as a way to cater to the needs of student athletes on campus,” but that it expanded into a broader “College-wide interest.”

Sixty-six percent of all students surveyed said that, if breakfast options were to expand, they would be more likely to attend breakfast on a regular basis.

The College removed hot breakfast items from the Houses during weekdays in 2009 in response to the economic downturn, when the College decided “to keep the cost of attending Harvard lower by cutting the board rate and modifying the breakfast menu,” according to Harvard University Dining Services Spokesperson Crista Martin.

At a town hall in 2009, then-HUDS Executive Director Ted A. Mayer estimated that the decision to eliminate most hot break options in the Houses would save the College $900,000 per year.

Martin noted that House residents who would like hot breakfast options can dine in Annenberg for breakfast. She also pointed out that the UC’s survey did not account for the sacrifices that would be necessary in order to fund expanded breakfast options.

“Unfortunately, the UC survey failed to ask students what they were willing to give up for expanded breakfast options to be in place, or how much more they would be willing to pay for their board plan in order for those options to be extended,” Martin wrote in an emailed statement.

Duran said he recognized the financial difficulty of expanding breakfast options in the Houses, but suggested that compromise solutions—such as having a few Houses offering the options on different parts of campus—could make expansion more feasible.

“There are certainly ways to make it less of a financial strain and still satisfy a clear campus need,” Duran said.

—Staff writer Michelle J. Hu contributed reporting to this story.

—Staff writer Brian P. Yu can be reached at brian.yu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianyu28

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