UC Proposes To Keep Dining Halls Open during Spring Break

Members of the Undergraduate Council’s Student Life Committee met with officials from Harvard University Dining Services on Feb. 28 to discuss plans to keep the dining halls open during spring break next week.

“Since our last meeting with HUDS last semester, we have been asking for dining halls to be open during spring break,” vice chair of the Student Life Committee Happy Yang ’16 said.

She said that though HUDS does not plan to offer dining hall service during spring break this year, HUDS staff members are considering plans to do so next year and have brought a financial modeling plan to the Office of Student Life.

The College’s meal plan currently does not include dining hall access over spring break, leading many students who are unable or choose not to leave campus during break to purchase food in the Square and the surrounding area with their personal money.

“I’m staying because I can’t go back to my country [during the break],” said Kelvin N. Muriuki ’17, who is originally from Kenya. “It’s going to be a little tricky getting food, but I have been working, so I’m going to use my savings.”

Members of some athletic teams, who stay on campus for training, receive a stipend for meals over the break, as per regulations from the National Collegiate Athletic Association for student-athletes who stay on campus for training.

Lev E. Ratnofsky ’16, a member of the men’s lightweight crew team, said that many of his teammates live in DeWolfe housing, so they also have access to kitchens over the break.

“Having dining halls be open would be great, but I understand how it could be a waste to Harvard,” Ratnofsky said. “Besides, it gives a nice taste of reality, having to be responsible for your own food and not having it served to you.”

According to Christa Martin, the HUDS director for marketing and communications, HUDS offered spring break dining options in the 1980s. Students who remained on campus had the option to pay an additional fee for meals during the break, but due to a low participation rate, the program was ended.

“Over the last few years, there appears to be a growing trend of students staying on campus over the spring break period and requesting service,” Martin said. “As such, HUDS and the College have begun to model the costs of such service and the necessary considerations.”

After meeting with HUDS, the UC sent surveys to students asking about their plans for the break in order to gauge interest in a possible subsidized meal plan.

While the dining halls are closed, certain campus eateries like the Northwest Building Cafe, Buckminster's at the Laboratory for Integrated and Applied Sciences, and Bauer Cafe at the Bauer Laboratory will remain open during the break and accept Board Plus.

—Staff writer Kamara A. Swaby can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SwabyK.