Commons closure yields student frustrations
Last week, Commons was closed for “university events,” leading students to feel frustrated with the limited options.
Tim Tai, Senior Photographer
Last week, students who would likely otherwise dine in Commons could be spotted crowding Beinecke Plaza and the Elm with brown to-go boxes for their lunches.
Commons, a student favorite because of its late lunch hours and wide range of options, served only grab-and-go options on Sept. 13 and was closed Sept. 14, according to an email sent by Yale Hospitality on Sept. 12.
“It was really inconvenient,” Kavya Gupta ’27 told the News.
Adam Millman, senior director of retail and auxiliaries at Yale Hospitality, wrote to the News that Yale Hospitality is “pleased to support” University events happening in Commons.
He added that the Schwarzman Center, a “mixed use building” that includes Commons, closes occasionally for events.
Millman wrote that their goal is to “provide the least amount of service disruptions while providing menu continuity through the convenience and portability that to-go options offer,” and when events happen, Yale Hospitality reorganizes the hours for staff to address event-specific needs.
Because of events, Millman wrote, there are often changes where “operational contingencies, staff availability, and equipment breakdown” can have an impact on the options offered. As such, operational management has the “discretion to use to-go boxes” when needed.
Yet, Millman wrote to the News that as “a mixed used building,” the Schwarzman Center’s disrupted service “underlines the inclusivity, flexibility and access of these beautiful spaces for a diverse range of events and activities beyond the scope of their day-to-day models.”
While Grace Hopper and Timothy Dwight’s dining halls opened earlier on Sept. 14, and Davenport and Trumbull were open late — until 3 p.m. — on Sept. 14 to accommodate the closure, per Yale Hospitality’s Sept. 12 email, students still felt disappointed at the lack of dining options open in the late afternoon.
Commons is typically open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; residential college dining halls, by contrast, close at 1:30 p.m.
But students like Gupta, coming from Science Hill and other far-flung campus locations, said that these options are often less convenient than Commons, which is centrally located.
Some students were less concerned with Commons’ temporary closure but also complained that the other dining options were not well prepared to handle the additional surge of lunch goers.
Amy Choi ’27 said she had read the email and knew Commons was going to be closed.
Instead, she went to the Bow Wow, a nearby alternative, but was ultimately disappointed to find a long line and “nothing” left to eat, given that they had run out of sushi. She also added that a traffic jam she experienced was “frustrating.”
While Rohan Lokanadham ’27 said that Commons usually provides “a nice break from the dining hall,” he said that the dining experience is “overrated.”
He added that the seasonal menu that Commons serves is unique, but its closure was inconvenient for students coming from classes that conflict with residential college dining hall hours.
Yale has 14 residential college dining halls in addition to offerings at the Bow Wow, the Elm, Commons, Steep Cafe and the Underground, among others.