At 5:55 p.m., Fred Aransky hurries around the Morse dining hall, searching for an empty seat, rearranging a stray lettuce leaf in the sandwich bar, joking with his staff and checking the counter at the front desk: nearly 200 students have dined there since 5:00 p.m.

Aransky, the dining hall manager for Morse and Ezra Stiles colleges, spends a lot of time in the dining halls during meals, trying to accommodate students’ needs. The results of the fall 2002 dining hall survey are now in and they show Morse at the bottom of the list, with a 2.99 out of a perfect score of 5. But the average for all dining halls was 3.55, up from 3.33 in spring 2002, with a total of 2,561 surveys compiled.

Director of Dining Services David Davidson said he thinks new programs designed to improve customer service, managerial skills and cooking are now paying off.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased [with the scores],” Davidson said. “But it’s always, ‘What can we add? How can we make it more exciting?’ That sort of thing.”

Timothy Dwight College, which was renovated last year, topped the survey with a score of 3.99, up from 3.31 in the spring of 2002. While Aransky’s Morse fell to the bottom of the list, he said he thought the staff in both Morse and Stiles, which scored a 3.09, were doing a good job.

“We feel we try to do a good job here,” Aransky said. “I believe sincerely our food quality is good. I don’t think [the survey result] was bad, but it could be better.”

In Pierson College, dining hall manager Ian Hobbs said he is pleased with his dining hall’s score of 3.97, which tied Berkeley College for second place.

“The students’ appreciation of the employees — when there are needs and wants, the staff take care of them,” Hobbs said. “That’s the students and staff working together very well.”

The campuswide ‘staff friendliness’ rating received the highest marks among all categories, with a score of 4.27. ‘Freshness’ and ‘consistency of taste’ each returned a 3.12, the lowest score received. Dining hall food received an overall average of 3.05.

In the coming weeks, dining hall managers will be responsible for getting in touch with all students who put contact information on their surveys, general manager of Commons dining hall Robert Alberino said.

“Sometimes the comments are more important than some of the surveys,” Aransky said. “Some of the questions become a little generic.”

All of the dining hall managers said they appreciate it when students approach them with suggestions.

“If you can sit down with someone — it’s something you can react to very quickly,” Alberino said. “Anything legitimate — except, you know, ‘We want lobster three times a week’ — we can take care of.”