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The First-Year Caucus of the Undergraduate Council has proposed a shift in Annenberg Hall's dinner hours.
But University administrators said they have reservations about the proposal and have not yet approved any changes to dining hours.
The caucus' proposal would require a change of existing dining services shifts or additional overtime for Annenberg staff, according to Interim Director of Harvard Dining Services (HDS) Leonard D. Condenzio.
Caucus member Robert S. Schwartz '00 said the proposal arose from concerns that Annenberg's hours do not accommodate students who have late classes or participate in sports or other activities.
The proposal would shift dinner in Annenberg back by a half hour, changing the meal time from 5 to 7:15 p.m. to 5:30 to 7:45 p.m.
"People just aren't ready to eat at five and being able to get food is important," Schwartz said.
Jacob F. Lentz '00, a member of the men's heavyweight crew team, said the early meal time often causes him to miss dinner. He said many athletes are forced to skip meals because of the early dinner hours at Annenberg.
"It would really be useful if they could at least leave [Annenberg] open another 30 to 45 minutes," Lentz said. "Otherwise we end up eating scraps out of the garbage."
According to caucus member Kathleen E. Campbell '00, many first-years complained to her about the early meal hours when she campaigned for election to the council.
First-years interviewed while dining in Annenberg last night said they support the half-hour shift.
"The dinner hours [at Annenberg] are so early that a few hours later you're hungry again," Sukanya Lahiri '00 said.
Campbell said she and other members of the first-year caucus became less optimistic about the proposed changes after Dean of Freshmen Elizabeth S. Nathans explained the logistics involved in implementing their plan.
"I would still really like to see it happen, but realistically I don't think it's going to," Campbell said.
Nathans said HDS was most concerned about scheduling and shift changes.
"There are real limits on what you can do," Nathans said. "There might be problems with the unions but there would definitely have to be changes made in the way dining services workers structured their day."
Condenzio said the plan is problematic because it fractures the shift structure currently in place.
"The request is simple, but in reality it's a difficult situation compounded by the fact that if Annenberg instituted the policy, the houses would probably request it as well," Condenzio said.
Spreading the day out would require splitting the eight-hour day into two shifts or paying workers for overtime. Both options would be costly, he said.
Dining services workers in Annenberg hall arrive just before breakfast at 8 a.m. and finish at about 8 p.m.
Although he is not promoting the first-year caucus proposal, Condenzio said HDS is willing to assist individuals who are dissatisfied with Annenberg dinner hours or unable to reach Annenberg in time to eat.
"Dining Services has a long-standing tradition of accommodating people and if there's some way we can help those individuals who need after-hours services, we'd be happy to investigate it," he said.
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