May 20, 2011

Big appetites at Pierce drive late night pilot

As the Fourth Meal pilot continues, so has student interest in late night grub.

According to Director of Operations and Communications for Housing and Dining Richard Mason, the pilot program in Pierce this week has sustained numbers of around 720 students each night, significantly higher than the approximately 400 students Pierce got for dinner each night last week.

Offerings at Pierce Dining Hall did not differ significantly from those at last week’s pilot run at South Campus—both have omelet stations, milkshakes or smoothies, alongside traditional breakfast foods like eggs and potatoes. However, Pierce did have an extensive pancake and waffle bar with fruits and sweets.

As with the pilot at South Campus, students generally enjoyed the opportunity to eat late, and were doing their best to attend in support of the pilot.

“If it didn’t happen, we did our part,” first-year Max P. resident Dani Anaya said about her and fellow first-year Lucy Li, who have gone to Pierce every night this week.

However, some students are still concerned with the food offerings. Second-years Ryan Mease and Will Burgo came to Pierce Wednesday night to grab a diet Coke, because all of the options were so unhealthy, they said.

“It’s a good idea, a lot of people go to bed late, but they need to make it a real meal,” Burgo said. He said he doubts he and Mease will return in the future if the plan is implemented.

Burgo also worries that though Fourth Meal provides a community meal in its own way, it endangers house culture because it encourages or enables students to skip dinner at their house tables.

On the other hand, many students have to skip dinner regardless, due to labs, classes, or other activities. Second-year Max P. resident Grant Dowling often eats late at Subway in Hutch, for example, and said he appreciates not having to go to restaurants late at night to get “guilty pleasure” food.