Sunday, December 5, 2021

Cafeteria overcrowding sparks controversy

February 1, 2012
Students dine Wednesday noon time at The Gallery cafeteria inside Snyder-Phillips Hall. Students are concerned about the crowdedness of campus cafeterias, especially during high traffic hours of the day. Justin Wan/The State News
Students dine Wednesday noon time at The Gallery cafeteria inside Snyder-Phillips Hall. Students are concerned about the crowdedness of campus cafeterias, especially during high traffic hours of the day. Justin Wan/The State News —
Photo by Justin Wan | and Justin Wan The State News

When no preference freshman Cassie Brignole first went to Case Hall’s new South Pointe cafeteria after it opened earlier this semester, she saw people standing against the wall.

In the first few weeks after its opening, the cafeteria was filled to the brim with students standing on its perimeter walls or wandering around waiting for a seat to open up, she said.

“(It) can get a little overwhelming because of how crowded it gets, so I try and go after the rush if I can,” she said.

Despite the opening of the new cafeteria, other on-campus dining areas — particularly the Gallery at Snyder and Phillips halls — continue to have a high turnout of patrons, Associate Director of Residential Dining Bruce Haskell said.

Haskell addressed the crowding issue with the Residence Halls Association, or RHA, last week after representatives brought their concerns for student safety because of the high-traffic flow at some cafeterias.

Haskell said although the Gallery is only about five years old, some of its seating has incurred damages from the volume of students coming in and out.

There has been some talk of changing seating in the Gallery to better alleviate the lunchtime crowding, although no plans officially are in the works, he said.

He mentioned adding an elevated seating section with a staircase to create more space on the floor or enclosing the current outdoor seating area to add about 80 additional seats as possible solutions.

“It might be kind of a dream,” he said. “It would be costly and require some work.”

Accounting junior Natalie Beutler said she rarely eats at the Gallery because she lives off campus, but when she does, it is always busy and the lines are long.

“SnyPhi is always crowded,” she said.

Haskell also said with potential construction plans in the works for the cafeterias in Akers and Landon halls, expanding the Gallery would require the dining services to examine their construction budget to determine if renovations would be possible.

With the Shaw Hall cafeteria set to undergo $13.95 million in renovations this summer, other construction projects might be put on hold, Haskell said.

The cafeteria is expected to close in May and re-open in January 2013.

But Haskell added when Shaw Hall reopens to students, some of the overflow in the Gallery should move to Shaw.

Hospitality business freshman Annie Washburn, who usually eats in Landon Hall’s cafeteria, said students are “most definitely” lured to the newer, renovated cafeterias, which leads to the crowding.

“Normally I don’t see a face I don’t recognize in the Landon cafeteria,” she said. “(At Case), it’s always different people.”

Beutler said she would prefer having smaller cafeterias in more locations, similar to how Sparty’s Convenience Store has locations across campus, but with the option to order food on a meal plan.

“If they had more seats, that’s really what they need,” she said. “I spend more time looking for a seat than (eating).”

Do you want the news without having to hunt for it? Sign up for our morning s'newsletter. It's everything your friends are talking about and then some. And it's free!

Discussion

Share and discuss “Cafeteria overcrowding sparks controversy” on social media.