The fruit smoothies available in the Saybrook dining hall Monday night kicked off a year of expanded food options in the college.
Saybrook Monday Madness — a Yale Dining initiative that provides additional food options in only Saybrook College each Monday night — began this week to increase traffic in the Saybrook dining hall. The new program will include additional food choices such as crepes and an omelet station. Administrators hope the program will attract students who would typically eat in Berkeley College dining hall, after administrators introduced new restrictions that closed Berkeley to transfer students two Mondays per month starting on Oct. 15, Director of Residential Dining and Saybrook Associate Master Cathy Van Dyke SOM ’86 said.
“We are trying to pull demand into the Saybrook Dining Hall, which has traditionally been the most under-utilized residential college dining hall,” Van Dyke said. “Plans for Monday Madness at Saybrook might include omelet stations or special smoothies that we make and distribute to students.”
Van Dyke said Saybrook sees an average of 283 students on Monday through Thursday nights. The college largely serves its own students, she added, because 283 is roughly the same number of meals Saybrook serves on Sunday evening Family Nights, when the dining hall is only open to Saybrook students. By comparison, Berkeley serves an average of 482 students on Monday through Thursday nights — 50 percent more students than it serves on Sunday evenings, she said.
In light of Berkeley’s new restrictions, which close the dining hall to transfers two Mondays a month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Van Dyke said Yale Dining chose Saybrook dining hall as an alternative to Berkeley on Monday nights because the dining hall is underutilized and located across the street from Berkeley. She added that each Monday evening, a sign will be posted in Berkeley College informing students of Saybrook Monday Madness directly next to a sign explaining Berkeley’s new rules.
Van Dyke and several students interviewed said many non-Saybrook students are reluctant to eat in Saybrook because the dining hall is difficult to find and has a reputation as one of the least desirable among the residential colleges. Lincoln Mitchell ’15 said he “always gets lost” when he tries to go to Saybrook and often ends up at the Branford College dining hall.
Saybrook dining hall is directly across the street from Old Campus, but several freshmen interviewed said they do not frequent the dining hall.
“Even though Saybrook is near Old Campus, I would never schedule a meal there because it’s hard to navigate and loud inside,” said Anne O’Brien ’16. “The only times I’ve been to Saybrook were for my FOOT trip reunions because it happened to be a convenient place for our group.”
Van Dyke added that Berkeley may be popular with freshmen because it has traditionally been one of the dining halls open during Camp Yale, so freshmen get used to going to Berkeley.
Six Saybrook students interviewed said they do not think it will lead to overcrowding because of the little publicity for the initiative. Saybrook student Rachel Brown ’15 said she is looking forward to the new foods Yale Dining will provide on future Mondays.
Berkeley students Max Rolison ’15 and Andrés Bustamante ’15 both said they are “loving” the new restrictions in Berkeley dining hall, and that they support Monday Madness’ efforts to attract students to the Saybrook dining hall.
Monday Madness at Saybrook was set to begin last Monday, Oct. 29, but was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy.