Students are fed up with dining hall hours, or at least that’s what a recent survey indicates.
A Student Government Association (SGA) survey of 1,254 people conducted during the spring elections found 96 percent of students are in favor of extending dining hall hours.
SGA passed a bill to recognize these grievances. The legislation, sponsored by freshman at-large senator Jacob Baum, calls for Crown Commons and SoVi to extend their hours until 10 p.m. starting in the fall semester of 2018.
Sahithi Meduri, sophomore class president-elect, was a sponsor of the bill alongside Baum. She said current dining hall hours are not fair to students with late classes.
“Many students have things going on until 9:15 p.m. and dining halls close at 8:30 p.m,” she said. “[We] didn’t think it was fair and wanted more options [for students] than fast food.”
While Chic-fil-A is open until 10 p.m. on weekdays, Atkins café until 11 p.m. and Wendy’s until 12:30 a.m., SoVi and Crown Commons dining halls both close at 8:30 p.m. Next semester, classes will run as late as 11:15 p.m. SGA believes students should have access to healthier foods throughout the day.
Meduri thinks students have the right to the extra hours because other UNC schools have better dining options.
“I believe it should already be included in what we already pay in our tuition because other schools in our system have longer hours and more dining food options,” she said.
UNC Charlotte’s cheapest meal plan is $1,185, although students must have 90 credit hours in order to qualify for this option. The cheapest meal plan for freshmen is $2,125. UNC Chapel Hill’s cheapest plan is $1,378, but their latest dining hall is open until 12 a.m. NC State’s cheapest plan is $1,750 and their dining halls are open until 9 p.m. The cheapest plan at East Carolina University is $1,925 and their last dining hall closes at 11 p.m. Although UNC Charlotte does offer the cheapest meal plan, that plan is only available to upperclassmen and freshmen have to pay the most expensive plan of these four schools. In addition, Charlotte offers the shortest dining hall hours.
Freshman Soleil Maynor disagrees with many of her classmates about extending the hours.
“I wish they wouldn’t do it,” she said. “I feel like it might mess with the dining hall employees’ shifts in a very undesirable way and I’m sure they already get home late because they have to clean up afterwards.”
Meduri said she is unsure whether dining hall employees would be paid overtime for working past the current closing times.
The bill is a formal suggestion and does not ensure dining hours will be extended. However, Meduri is confident that the university and the regional district manager of Chartwells Dining — our long-standing catering company — will collaborate to meet student demands.