Last week a new lunch alternative called the Ready-Made Lunches program was announced to the College by Dining Services and College Council (CC), created to ensure that students with schedules that conflict with regular lunch hours can still eat. “This option provides a service for those students who are unable to have lunch due to a work or class conflict,” said Chris Abayasinghe, assistant director of Dining Services.
Students can fill out an online form on the Dining Services Web site to request that a Grab-n-Go lunch be set aside and available from 2-4 p.m. at Lee Snack Bar. The lunches must be ordered at least three days in advance and will count as a lunch equivalency. The application requires that students submit their class schedule to justify why they cannot eat lunch during the regular hours.
Dining Services observed that a noticeable portion of students have been missing lunch daily. Some students complained that the lunch hours at the various dining halls, currently 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (along with Grab-n-Go’s 10 a.m.-1 p.m.), were not long enough. “We wanted to help address the small population of students who, due to class or work conflicts, are unable to have lunch during the school week,” Abayasinghe said.
The program originated last year when Emanuel Yekutiel ’11, CC Class of 2011 representative, brought the proposal to create a lunch equivalency at Snack Bar in the hour or two after other dining halls had closed.
However, Dining Services did not have the funds to fully staff Snack Bar for those extra hours, and the proposal was rejected. The other option of extending the hours of regular dining halls was also declined for similar reasons. These options are unlikely to reemerge anytime soon, with all departments cutting budgets amidst the financial crisis.
“So we returned to the point: there are students on campus who consistently miss lunch,” Yekutiel said. The Ready-Made Lunches program emerged as a compromise with Yekutiel’s original proposal and as an alternative for students unable to make the regular lunch hours. Yekutiel and Abayasinghe worked closely together to create the new program and make it available to students. They proposed the idea to the Food Committee last April and subsequently worked with the Office of Public Relations to design the Web page.
Unlike Yekutiel’s original proposal, Ready-Made Lunches function as an equivalency program. “The program is used in lieu of a lunch meal. Given that each student would consume a lunch meal at some time during the day, there is no additional cost for this option,” Abayasinghe said. He anticipated that eight to ten students per week would use the program due to scheduling conflicts. Eleven students have participated since its inception.
“My firm belief, throughout the whole process, was that even if this program served only one person, allowed just one person to eat who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get lunch, than it would be a great success in my eyes,” Yekutiel said. “I think that students complain a little too much about Dining Services and don’t give credit where credit is due. We are spoiled with so many options for lunch ,and now there is no excuse for those who say that they always miss lunch.”