Senate approves resolution to extend Village dining hours

| Staff Reporter
Student Union passed two resolutions Wednesday, one in support of student activism at Monday’s student protest of the University’s energy conference and another recommending that the Village extend its dining hours.  Left, SU Senator Greg Schweizer urges Senate to pass the dining resolution and stir-fry, pending the approval of Bon Appétit management, right. (Matt Langer (center) and Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

Student Union passed two resolutions Wednesday, one in support of student activism at Monday’s student protest of the University’s energy conference and another recommending that the Village extend its dining hours. Left, SU Senator Greg Schweizer urges Senate to pass the dining resolution and stir-fry, pending the approval of Bon Appétit management, right. (Matt Langer (center) and Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

Student Union Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass a resolution to pilot extended dining hours in the Village. One of the main issues under discussion in the resolution is whether SU will compensate Bon Appétit for any monetary losses incurred as a result of the pilot.

Although most eateries on the South 40 are open until 3 a.m. on weekends, all food stations in the Village close at 8 p.m. except the grill station, which closes at midnight. One of the popular food services in the Village that closes at 8 p.m. is the stir-fry station.

In a recent SU survey, more than 55 percent of students and an average of 85 percent of North Side residents said they would likely purchase food from the Village between midnight and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The survey also found that a majority of students supported extending dining hours for both the grill and stir-fry stations.

The SU resolution called for an extension of hours at the grill, which the resolution recommended stay open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for a seven-week trial period. The resolution also recommended that the stir-fry station be open until 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday for the trial period.

If Bon Appétit agrees with the recommendations, the pilot will run from the beginning of spring semester until spring break.

According to junior Greg Schweizer, outgoing chair of the Senate Campus Services committee and the SU Senator who has led the effort to extend Village dining hours, the main concern with the pilot is that Bon Appétit will lose money.

Several plans have been proposed to offset any monetary losses, including having SU subsidize the program. In the event that SU does this, the money would come from the student activities fee. This subsidization would last only for the extent of the trial period.

“The subsidy would be a last resort, but we are confident that they will recoup the money,” Schweizer said.

Nadeem Siddiqui, Bon Appétit’s resident district manager, said a Student Union subsidy is undesirable.

“The goal is that we don’t have to or shouldn’t have to do that,” Siddiqui said.

Bon Appétit also has the option of pulling out of the pilot at any point.

If at the end of the seven-week trial, Bon Appétit loses money but still wants to make the extended hours permanent, another option is for the organization to cut hours at other dining facilities on campus. Low-volume hours could be cut from campus eateries such as Whispers to fund an increase in hours at the Village.

Schweizer is optimistic about the extended hours at the Village.

“My expectation is that the pilot will be a success,” Schweizer said. “I think that come next year, there will be later hours in the Village.”

Sophomore Michael Laks said he would like extended hours. Laks often treks to the Village from the South 40 for stir-fry. Last week he waited a half hour for it.

“The hours should go longer because it’s so delicious,” Laks said. “Stir-fry should be available to students at all times of the day. It’s not the rare occasion that I need my fix of sesame and soy and the stir-fry station is closed.”

Freshman Tyler Trussell would also like extended hours.

“[The time the Village eateries close] seems kind of early. I usually don’t eat dinner until 8:30 or 9,” Trussell said.