Overcrowding at Russell frustrates students
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 22:09
Crowding at Russell Dining Hall these days is not a mystery to students or Dining Services. New residence halls on East Campus and the 767 first year students they house are the culprit. Despite future plans to build a new dining hall located across from Perkins Student Center, Russell, which can seat 364 students, is facing a surge of overcrowding.
Russell Dining Hall is currently experiencing an increase in diners of approximately 150 to 200 students per day, Robin Moore, Senior Director of Operations, stated in an email message
The location of two new residence halls, Louis Redding and Eliphalet Gilbert, makes Russell Dining Hall the most convenient dining option for freshmen living on East Campus. As students head there for meals, long lines outside the building turn into a sea of hungry students, crowding through the doors the moment Russell opens for service.
Dining options closest to East Campus include the Scrounge in Perkins, Kent Dining Hall, Russell Dining Hall and Einstein Bros. Bagels, inside the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Lab, which opened this semester.
Dining Services expected this crowding at Russell and came up with a few strategies to try to spread the students among the dining options on East Campus, Moore said. Dining Services teamed up with Residence Life to put together a dining schedule for 1743 Welcome Days, to avoid a mad rush during the first year students’ opening meal, she said. They staggered the arrival times and sent a bunch of East Campus students to Kent, hoping these students would continue to eat there, she said.
To further accommodate the number of students, hours at Russell have been extended and the to-go program has been enhanced, Moore said.
“In anticipation of the increase we had planned on extending the hours of operation seven days a week [until] 8:30 p.m.,” Moore said. “We also have in place our enhanced to-go program that was piloted last spring.”
The To-Go Program is Russell’s own form of take-out; it allows students to fill food containers to take with them, rather than eating inside of the dining hall.
Loreto Viray Casuga and Shelton Harder, both freshmen, said eating at Russell is a hassle and causes them exasperation.
“Finding a place to sit takes a long time, and students are forced to take laps around the dining area,” Casuga said.
Harder, a West Campus student from Dickinson, said she was surprised by the contrast between Rodney Dining Hall and Russell.
“It’s empty in Rodney,” Harder said. “I was shocked the first time I came here.”
Despite the attempts of Dining Services to promote Kent and the Scrounge during 1743 Welcome Days, Russell seems to remain the majority of the East Campus freshmen dining hall of choice.
Kent Dining Hall is open weekdays for continuous dining from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. While the dining hall is close to the East Campus residence halls, some students are not aware they have this dining option.
When asked if he ever eats at Kent Dining Hall, Casuga said, “Kent? Ha, I didn’t even know that existed.”