Dodd offers free breakfast option

The Dodd Neighborhood Governance Board (NGB) gave its residents a nice back to school gift on the first day of classes: green Zilkha Center sustainable mugs and the news that Dodd’s continental breakfast would now be a swipe-free option.

This new system, which provides bagels, cereal, pastries, milk, juice and coffee from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, is the product of an ongoing collaboration between Dining Services, the Dodd NGB and the Zilkha Center to provide a satisfying yet sustainable breakfast option for students nestled in the corner of campus.

Dodd continental breakfast was implemented last spring after polls conducted by former Dodd President Peter Nurnberg ’09 indicated that there was a strong desire among residents for a convenient breakfast option. The swipe-in breakfast was an initial hit among students who were frustrated by the termination of breakfast and lunch at Dodd in the wake of Paresky’s opening in Feb. 2007. However, according to Chris Abayasinghe, assistant director of student dining, attendance slowly dwindled from 50 students per morning to less than 20 by the end of the semester.

Despite the decline in participation, Abayasinghe and incoming Dodd President Emily Behrman ’09 remained dedicated to providing the service. After considering staffing and attendance, Abayasinghe suggested implementing a self-serve approach to the continental breakfast, thereby eliminating the need for an on duty staff member while still providing breakfast for hungry Dodd residents looking for a quick morning meal.

“We have great attendance so far and students seem pretty happy with the new system,” Behrman said. The mingling among a diverse group of Dodd residents as they wait for the toaster and enjoy their morning coffee in the comfy booths has been a surprising side-benefit of the system. “We’ve found it’s been a really great way to get to know residents in a difference setting,” she added.

The pilot program, which drew approximately 40 students per day during its first full week, is also part of Dining Services’ ongoing effort to increase sustainability. With bulk food options, limited dishes and the reusable mugs, which were funded by the Zilkha Center late last spring, the breakfast is an almost entirely waste-free operation and one that Director of Dining Services Bob Volpi hopes “will always be there.”

Since Monday, Jerry D’Acchille, unit manager of Mission and Dodd dining halls, has overseen the program, which has moved from the student kitchen area into the neighboring Gibson room to improve set-up logistics. Dining Services will be taking attendance records this week to gauge participation and subsequently adjust the servings provided.