By Alia Wilson
For students forced to eat at odd hours because of class or work, UC Santa Cruz Dining Services seems to make life just a little harder.
The sometimes confusing dining hall schedules have students roaming around campus in search for dinner time satisfaction. For the past two years, UCSC has been under its own food and facilities management, yet their scheduling methods still seem to be tripping up hungry students.
"There have been times I miss dinner because the dining halls are closed at 7 p.m.," second-year student Jake Klingeo said. "Usually I don’t even eat, or I’ll just have some snacks."
The late night schedule especially causes confusion among first-year students, who are unfamiliar with the hours of operation.
UCSC Dining Hall Program Coordinator Candy Berlin said that the dining hall’s schedules reflect an effort to provide students with options late at night.
"Students have eating patterns that take them late into the night," Berlin said. "During the week we have Oakes, College Eight, and Nine/Ten open for easy access."
However, few students, including first-year College Eight student Sophie Ludel, know where to get meals on the weekends.
"I didn’t even know that Crown/Merrill had late night on the weekends," Ludel said. Describing her dining hall alternatives, she added, "Normally I’ll just cook at a friend’s house or go off campus."
Dining Hall staff say that the hours of service are scheduled according to student needs, and that an extension of those hours would not be necessary.
Jamie Holmes, Food Service Manager of College Nine and College Ten, said that the dining hall’s busiest time is during the week, while weekends are typically slower. Holmes said that student demand isn’t large enough to drive all the dining halls to remain open more hours, especially on weekends.
"It’s not a necessity to be open all the time," Holmes said. "We are five times slower on the weekends than during the week, with students going home or having family visits."
Those who do stay on campus on the weekends and are lacking unlimited meal plans find themselves falling back on old reliable methods of sustenance.
"I only have a five-day meal plan," first-year student Dan Mascardo said. "On the weekends I make a cup of noodles, and if my friends want to go out to eat I’ll just make a cup of noodles before we go and take it with me."
As for the dining hall’s confusing hours of operation, dining faculty hope that students will take advantage of the websites provided by each dining hall before students make the long trek across campus only to find the dining hall closed.
"It is important to us that our students can go to the webpage to find dining," Berlin said. Menus are online also to help students come to a decision as to where to dine.
Dining Hall schedules are posted online at http://www.housing.ucsc.edu/dining/.