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Concerned by the dining hall worker strike’s impact on House life, Faculty Deans and House Committees are hosting additional food and community events for students.
College administrators have allocated additional funds to the Houses and the freshman Yards for programming during the strike, which Houses have used for study breaks and other events, according to an email statement from Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair. The Office of Student Life has also granted HoCos money to plan additional events, O’Dair wrote.
As of Tuesday, the dining halls in Adams, Cabot, Leverett, Lowell, Mather, and Pforzheimer remained closed. Lowell Faculty Dean Diana L. Eck described in an email the challenges of maintaining community amidst the dining hall closures.
“This has been a very difficult time for House community, since the Dining Hall is really the epicenter of our House life. There is an emptiness and loneliness in the heart of the House,” Eck wrote. “It is very difficult to make up for the energy and caring that our Dining Hall workers bring to the community.”
Eck added that Lowell tutors and HoCo members had volunteered to facilitate House events and brain breaks. She also said tutors were concerned about the impact of decreased student interactions on mental health.
Leverett Faculty Dean Howard Georgi ’68 echoed concerns regarding the difficulty of maintaining community with the dining hall closed during the strike.
“We are doing our best to keep the dining hall alive, but it is particularly difficult because our dining hall is closed. We don’t even have working drink machines,” he said. “We are hoping that the work stoppage will end soon and that our beloved dining hall workers can get back to work.”
Students said they appreciated the efforts to mitigate the effects of the strike in the Houses, though the events could not fully make up for the dining hall closures.
Adams HoCo treasurer Ryan M. Ward ’18 said additional funding from the OSL was helpful to the HoCo’s efforts. He also highlighted the opportunity which the dining hall closures offered to meet people outside of their houses.
“It’s nice, but it’s always a little disjointed because you don’t have that consistent group to eat with,” he said. “And it’s certainly not the same.”
Currier resident Eric S. Chen ’18 said he was skeptical of the ability of House food events to address more underlying issues.
“I think it’s helpful, but it’s not going to solve the troubles of the strike or people not having enough good food to eat,” he said.
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