For Nimit Jain ’12, 30 minutes is the difference between a typical lunch at Commons and sushi.
Jain created a Facebook group early last month advocating for a 30-minute extension of the weekday lunchtime transfer swipe period — when meal swipes may be used to purchase food to go — at Durfee’s and Uncommon. Now, Jain’s page has brought the Yale College Council on board with his cause: YCC Secretary Mike Bronfin ’11 and other members of the Council’s project committee on dining issues plan to discuss transfer swipes in a meeting with representatives from Yale Dining this afternoon.
Currently, students can transfer their weekday lunch meal swipes to both Durfee’s and Uncommon between 11:00 a.m. and 2 p.m. and receive $7 worth of store credit.
Jain said he first thought of the idea to extend hours because he has class from 10:30 a.m. until 2:15 p.m. on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since early afternoon classes typically release students at 2:15 p.m., Jain said many students face few options for later lunches.
“Technically, Commons does serve lunch [at 2:30 p.m.],” Jain said. “But they do not have a lot of options.”
Regenia Phillips, director of residential dining for Yale Dining, said she is familiar with the effort to extend lunchtime transfer swipe hours. Phillips said Yale Dining first heard about the proposal from members of the Dining Advisory Board, a group of 12 students appointed annually by the Yale College Dean’s Office to voice suggestions from the student body at-large to dining administrators.
But Phillips said a decision will come after Yale Dining determines the consequences of having more students transfer their lunch meal swipes to retail locations and away from Commons, which is the only dining location that accepts meal swipes after 2 p.m. and before dinner hours. Before making a decision, Phillips said, Dining will need to examine the effects of extended hours at Durfee’s and Uncommon, such as whether Commons would need to prepare less food.
“It’s not just flipping a switch and making a decision,” Phillips said. “We have to look at the whole picture. It is on our radar.”
Uncommon currently closes at 2:00 p.m. on weekdays, so an extension of transfer hours would mean keeping the store open and staffed for another half an hour. Durfee’s, on the other hand, stays open until 2:30 a.m., making Jain’s proposal only a matter of allowing swipes for an extra 30 minutes.
The YCC approached Jain just three days after the Facebook group’s creation to discuss how to advocate for the change, long before he presented YCC members with a petition.
Jain said he thinks the proposal will gain support even from those not already in his Facebook group, based on conversations with staff members at Durfee’s who told him to create a petition because they have had to turn away many students hoping to use transfer swipes away after 2:00 p.m.
Bronfin said he hopes Yale Dining administrators will be receptive to the proposed changes, but he added that even transferring meal swipes to Yale Dining’s retail locations poses a significant cost.
“We want to make sure it’s within their capabilities,” Bronfin said.
In addition to the transfer swipe period extension, Bronfin said he hopes to use the meeting with Yale Dining administrators to discuss adding small number of guest swipes to students’ meal plans and to review this semester’s Iron Chef competition, which was a collaboration between Yale Dining and YCC.
Bronfin said members of the YCC meet with representatives from Yale Dining each semester.