The Student Government Association senator at-large, Michelle Pan, and nursing senator, Megan O’Brien, met with chief executive officer of Gourmet Dining Services (GDS), Alfred Frungillo, to discuss extending dining hours for the Pirate Dining Room and the possibility of continuous dining.
Both senators met with Frungillo to discuss the possibility of continuous dining, but according to Pan, the current kitchen arrangement does not allow for such a feature. Pan wrote in an email that after the University Center undergoes construction this summer, Frungillo said in their meeting that continuous dining would be a greater possibility after the renovations.
However, it is only a possibility, not a planned effort. Nevertheless, conversations about continuous dining remain at the forefront.
“While we’re discussing the possibility of having a continuous dining hour in the future, there is no guarantee it’s actually happening,” Pan explained. “We’ll try our best to see what we can do but once again, this isn’t guaranteed.”
Pan explained that the limited dining hall hours is a pivotal issue and an extension on the hours would truly benefit students.
“I think this is important because as previously mentioned, there are some students who have internships in the city or a day full of classes and that would make it hard for them to get a meal in if the café is closed,” Pan said. “With extended hours, this would greatly benefit students who don’t have time to eat.”
Additionally, Pan said that GDS provides a service for students who are unable to attend the dining hall’s hours. Students can purchase a prepared boxed meal with their meal plan. In order to set up a boxed meal, the student must sign up 24 hours prior.
“There is a plan we offer called ‘Meals to Go’ where students can order a meal through our website, Frungillo wrote via email. “Hot and cold breakfast, lunch and dinners are offered for the cost of a meal plan swipe, with 24 hours’ notice. If a student cannot make it to the cafeteria and does not have 24 hours’ advanced notice, they can use Pirate Bucks to purchase food at the commuter cafeteria or the Pirate’s Cove.”
Furthermore, after Pan and O’Brien’s original meeting with Frungillo, Gourmet Dining sent representatives to Seton Hall on Feb. 26 for an open forum with students.
According to SGA Vice President, Violet Reed, GDS representatives will return for focus group follow-ups on March 19 and March 26 at 9:30 a.m. If students are interested in attending the forum, they can contact Reed via email.
Reed claimed students have expressed outward frustration at the inconvenient dining hours, particularly regarding lunch hours. Many students have class during lunch hours. When their classes finish and they have time to eat, the cafeteria closes at 2:15 p.m., thus forcing students to wait until 4:45 p.m. for the dining hall to reopen, according to Reed.
Although some students have expressed dissatisfaction with the dining hours, last year GDS extended the times they are open. Frungillo said that the dining room hours were established with input from SGA, GDS and the University.
As Reed expressed if continuous dining became a reality at Seton Hall, the school’s culture would shift.
“If [continuous dining] were to come into play at Seton Hall, [Frungillo] and Dean Van Norman stressed the culture change it would bring on campus,” Reed said. “The caf would turn into a place where people hang out, study, and socialize.”
Reed explained that even though the dining hours remain a topic of conversation, Seton Hall’s lack of places to socialize could change with a continuous, open dining hall.
“I sometimes feel SHU lacks comfortable and aesthetically pleasing places to hang out and socialize, and I think not only would extended caf hours do this,” Reed said, “but it will also take the stress off of students who miss meals or rush after class to make caf hours.”
Thomas Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.