Over 200 students participated in a new meal program offered for six days during winter break — Yale Dining’s latest addition to a string of dining hall changes this semester.
Over winter break, Yale Dining introduced two new dining plans that allowed students and student-athletes to eat lunch and dinner in Morse and Ezra Stiles dining halls from Jan. 7–12. Students could only access the two dining halls, and non-athletes were charged $7 for each meal. Despite the extra cost, students said they found the new plans to be useful.
“It was really convenient to not have to spend money off campus, and it was nice to be able to socialize with some of the other varsity teams,” said John McGowan ’15, a member of the men’s track and field team.
Under one of two new meal options, non-athletes could prepurchase two to 12 lunches for $7 each to be eaten in the two allotted dining halls, according to a December email from the Yale College Council. The meals were available to students both on and off the meal plan, and any unused swipes expired after Jan. 12.
Yale Dining also collaborated with the Yale Athletics Department to introduce a dining option for athletes who arrived on campus early for winter practices. In previous years, the Athletics Department gave students money to purchase food at local New Haven eateries, but this year it covered the cost of dining hall meals through the plan.
Director of Residential Dining Cathy Van Dyke SOM ’86 said Yale Athletics had initially approached Yale Dining about a new dining plan over winter break just for athletes last spring.
“There are always people researching and international students as well that are back on campus early, and the athletes’ meal plan made it financially feasible to open the dining halls to these students as well,” she said.
Van Dyke said 114 students prepurchased meals, and 120 athletes were given meal cards. While she said the changes in the Yale calendar were not the primary motivation behind the new plans, she added that she thinks they have helped students affected by the new winter break that extends further into January. Yale Dining plans to offer the same plans during spring break in March.
Students’ regular dining plans did not cover any meals from Jan. 7–12, but students who did not prearrange meals could also pay the usual $10.25 for lunch and $13.25 for dinner.
Leandro Leviste ’14, YCC secretary and the YCC dining committee chair, said his committee had been working on providing students with a dining option over break since the fall semester began.
Morse and Stiles Dining Hall Production Manager Jeff Hardy said the new meal options have been running smoothly, but the dining halls have not served a large number of students.
Students said the new meal plan worked well, even though they had to pay extra for the meals and only eat in Morse or Stiles.
“It was just necessary,” Tom Harrison ’15 said. “Without [the meal plan] I would have far less incentive to come train and not be endorsed or acknowledged by the school.”
These new plans follow another recent change in Yale Dining that allowed students on a meal plan to dine on campus at no additional cost during fall break and for four days over Thanksgiving vacation.