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Eating on the Run with HUDS

By Evan M. Vittor, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) is about to get a little better in the sack.

Starting today, students will be able to access a new “my HUDS” interface on the HUDS website, allowing them to order their bagged meals up until 4am the day of pickup.

According to the HUDS website, students previously had to place their bagged meal order at least 18 hours prior to the day of pickup.

“It used to be a relatively long lead time but now you can place an order up until 4am and pick it up when our doors open at 7am for breakfast,” said Crista Martin, HUDS’s assistant director of marketing.

Martin also said that the new online ordering system will store student bagged meal preferences in a database, easing the ordering process.

The food options for bagged meals will not change.

“If you order today, it will remember what you ordered so the next time you order a meal you could just duplicate what you ordered today,” Martin said.

In order to reduce the number of abandoned orders, students will still have to place a new order each day they want a bagged meal.

Students will also be able to designate any house dining hall as their pickup location, regardless of which house they live in. Bagged meals will not be available for pickup at athletic facilities, however.

Although the new bagged meal ordering interface is the only feature of the “my HUDS” portal going live tomorrow, Martin said that in the near future students will be able to list their five favorite menu items online and receive e-mails each Friday alerting them to when those items are being served during the upcoming week.

The new online system emerged from recommendations made last May by the HUDS subcommittee of the Committee on House Life (CHL) as part of an ongoing effort to expand dining options for students.

According to Associate Dean for Residential Life Suzy M. Nelson, the expanded bagged meal program is a short-term solution to student requests for extended dining hall hours.

“We thought it would be hasty to make a thorough change without further discussion,” Nelson said.

Last spring, HUDS and the College hired outside consultants to examine questions regarding expanded dining hall hours, and Nelson said that their report will be released to the CHL at their meeting on Nov. 16. The CHL will then make recommendations based on the report.

According to Nelson, the decision of whether or not to overhaul the current dining system will ultimately be made by the dean of the College in conjunction with the Council of House Masters.

HUDS Executive Director Ted Mayer said that the forthcoming report is simply a starting point to begin discussion on a new dining system at Harvard.

“The report is asking these questions and offering some options to begin discussions,” Mayer said.

Both Mayer and Nelson said that financial constraints would make it impossible to maintain all of HUDS’s current offerings and continue to add on more programs and dining hours.

“We can’t have everything that we have now and add everything that everybody else has,” Mayer said. “The College has to decide what it wants.”

—Staff writer Evan M. Vittor can be reached at evittor@thecrimson.com.

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