Spring break plan serves hundreds of students

Yale Dining
Photo by Stephanie Rivkin.

Over spring break, Yale Dining served over 3,400 meals to students staying in New Haven, the latest addition to a series of expanded dining options this year.

Yale Dining’s new spring break dining plan allowed students to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Pierson dining hall during the first week of the break and the Ezra Stiles and Morse dining halls during the second week. Students could access only these dining halls and were charged $7 for each meal. Director of Residential Dining Cathy Van Dyke SOM ’86 said the meal plan served approximately the same number of students that had participated in the winter break meal option. Some athletic teams granted their athletes staying on campus over break a food stipend, while others opted for the meal plan, but students interviewed said they preferred the food stipend.

“I used the meal plan over spring break, but I greatly prefer the stipend plan. I know that some teams even did it where they did breakfast in the dining hall and then were given money for lunch and dinner. This option would have also been better,” said Julie Mongan ’14, a member of the women’s lacrosse team.

Under the new spring option, students could prepurchase three to 24 meals for $7 each to be eaten during the first week of spring break and two to 21 meals for the same price during the second week, according to a February email from the Yale College Council. The meals were available to students both on and off the meal plan, and any unused swipes expired at the end of each week.

Van Dyke said that over 200 students purchased swipes each week. She added that 1,700 meals were served during the first week and 1,750 were served in the second. Van Dyke said Yale Dining has not yet determined how successful they think the new options were, but added that a similar meal plan would “most likely” be offered during next year’s spring break.

The YCC met with Yale Dining last summer to discuss the lack of student meal options during vacations, YCC President John Gonzalez ’14 said. He added that Yale Dining then independently designed meal options for fall, Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks.

In the winter break option, students could prepurchase meals to be eaten from Jan. 7–12. Under this plan, students were restricted to two to 12 lunches and dinners. Two-hundred students — approximately the same number per week that participated in the spring break meal plans — used the meal plan over winter break.

According to YCC email, all athletes practicing in New Haven over winter break were offered meal cards, but during spring break, individual coaches determined if they would provide daily stipends or require teams to eat in the dining hall, said Natalie Gonzalez, associate athletic director for varsity sports administration. Some coaches decided to use a combination of these options, she added, which in some cases catered better to their teams’ practice schedule.

“We didn’t eat in the dining halls at all. We were given ‘per diem’ — money to buy our own food during days we were here — and then also given a meal after practice each day,” said Alex Ward ’15, a member of the men’s hockey team.

Four student-athletes interviewed said they preferred the stipend model over the dining hall meal cards during spring break. The women’s lacrosse team received meal plan cards over spring break, Mongan said. She said she preferred the stipend model, which she used for the past two years, because it gave her a break from the food in the dining hall and allows athletes to eat “whenever they want” — not only during the times when the dining hall is open.

Spring break lasted from March 9–24.

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