By Charlie Weinmann, Arts Editor
Finding an open table during Sunday afternoon mealtimes at the dining halls is no longer a challenge. Stillings Hall has extended its hours of operation, and is now open on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
“We have been aware for quite some time that there has been a desire to have Stillings Hall open over the weekends,” Director of Dining Services Jon Plodzik said.
Until now, the additional cost of operating Stillings on the weekend did not seem to be a good use of student meal plan dollars. Now with the significant influx of new students, things had to be reevaluated.
“With the size of the incoming class and the high number of meal plans we have sold over the past years, we needed to reconsider the decision that we did not need Stillings open on the weekends,” Plodzik said.
Sunday evenings have historically hosted the highest demand for service within Holloway Commons, and when Stillings was closed, it made for a stressful situation. Such demand created seating concerns and “less than optimal experiences” for guests, according to Plodzik.
The decision to expand the service hours of Stillings was made to help alleviate the situation. Plodzik reported that this past Sunday, Stillings Hall served over 1,500 guests, with roughly 600 at lunch through the afternoon and 900 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Service at Holloway Commons was also reported to have improved during Sunday afternoon dining hours.
“I would call this first expanded service a success,” Plodzik said.
By providing the service at Stillings on Sundays, there will be an added expense of operating the dining program by roughly $100,000. Dining Services will be offsetting that expense through additional projected meal plan sales and reduction in expenses in other areas.
“I think people will be happier,” said junior Ryan Walsh. “Stillings seems to be a crowd favorite. It’s only going to be better now.”
“It will probably be better overall,” said junior Marykate Toracinta. “HoCo was always crowded on the Sundays. There was always not a lot to choose from.”
Due to the additional expense involved with operating Stillings on Sunday, and the current capacity of Holloway Commons and Philbrook Hall on Saturdays, Dining Services opts not to open Stillings on Saturday.
“It just would not be a good use of meal plan dollars and [would] ultimately result in us needing to increase unnecessarily the cost of meal plans to maintain our program,” Plodzik said. “I hope meal plan participants will find the additional venue on Sundays to be a great addition to our program.”
Stillings Hall is now open Sunday 12 to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday 7:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 7:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.