Currier Adds New Interhouse Dining Restrictions to Mitigate ‘Overwhelming Workload’ for HUDS Staff
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Currier House has implemented new interhouse dining restrictions as dining workers face an “overwhelming workload,” the House’s faculty deans announced in an email Monday afternoon.
The House will now close its dining hall to non-Currier students on Monday nights, in addition to continuing existing interhouse restrictions on Thursday and Sunday nights.
“On most nights, they are responsible for feeding and caring for more than double the number of students from Currier,” Currier House Faculty Deans Latanya A. Sweeney and Sylvia I. Barrett wrote in the email.
“While we’ve always been proud of our fantastic dining hall — the dedicated staff and delicious food — it’s become clear that they are stretched thin, often running out of food, and unable to provide the level of service our community deserves and has come to expect,” they added.
Currier resident Evan J. Jolley ’24 said he is a “big fan” of the new restrictions for students and dining hall staff alike.
“I know a lot of people don’t like interhouse restrictions because it messes up their dinner plans or makes them go to a dining hall they don’t want to, but frankly, it’s ridiculous how many people come to Currier d-hall,” Jolley said.
“It’s unfair to the workers of our d-hall to have to cook food for double the amount of people that they’re hired to do so for,” he added. “I’ve heard multiple workers make comments about interhouse kids trashing our dining hall and then leaving.”
Hashem H. Abdou ’24 and Nosher Ali Khan ’24 also said they support the new restrictions, but they voiced concern about their impact on non-Currier residents.
“I think one of the things that sets Currier apart is the d-hall. It’s the fact that people come here from all around the Quad, and also sometimes from the rest of Harvard houses to eat and meet other people. And it’s such a nice environment. So I think it’s a little bit of a shame,” Abdou said.
Abdou added that students should be “empathetic towards the Currier staff,” adding that Harvard should invest in more HUDS resources.
“Maybe Harvard could identify hot spots — like what popular dining halls are there — and add staff based on that,” Khan suggested.
Currier House card checker Patricia C. Machado says the number of students choosing to dine in the house has increased in recent years.
“Years ago, when I started here, our counts for dinner were a little bit over 200. Today, we are over 400. Last night I did 470,” she said. “Our kitchen’s small, we don’t have enough staff to have all these people, to finish our jobs, to provide a perfect job.”
“We have two people working in the dishroom to serve over 400 people,” she said. “It’s really not nice at all.”
Currier chef Ali Malekani said the crowded dining halls can also impact the quality of the food.
“From our point of view, if you overwhelm the system, what happens a lot is you end up getting a lot of bad meals,” he said. “I always say it’s better to give no meal than a bad meal.”
Machado said the House staff would be happy to serve more people if Harvard provided “more fridges, bigger kitchen, more staff, and more seats.”
“We’ll serve the whole city if they want to come in, because we love what we do here,” Machado said.
In addition to staffing concerns, Currier students said they often have trouble finding seats.
“In no world should my blocking group go to the dining hall at 7 p.m. and there not be a single space for us, or the only space for us is crammed in next to another large group at the edge of the table,” Jolley said.
Lisa Leonard, who works in the Currier dining hall, also said the issue is not with workload, but rather with insufficient resources.
“We’re not tired. It’s just we gotta get the food. Because we run out of food,” Leonard said.
In response to criticisms of Currier’s resources, Harvard spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo wrote in an emailed statement that “there are ongoing conversations to address the challenges.”
“There’s a reason why we have the best food, and it’s because the dining hall workers just make amazing food and they take pride in their work,” Jolley said. “The dining hall staff really are just the real MVPs.”
—Staff writer Ella L. Jones contributed reporting.
—Staff writer Sophia C. Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on X at @ScottSophia_.
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