February 2, 2010

Appel Hours Sliced in Effort To Reduce Operating Costs

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With the beginning of the spring semester, Cornell Dining has changed its hours of operation at Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery and Appel dining hall to increase efficiency and cut costs.

Previously, Appel was open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday nights and almost all day Saturday. Now, the dining hall will close at 2:30 p.m. on Fridays, and not reopen until Sunday at 10:00 a.m. To compensate for these changes, RPCC now opens half an hour earlier Friday night and for three meals on Saturday.

“A similar shift in North Campus weekend dining hours of operation was implemented spring semester 2009,” Stinchcomb wrote in an email. “This worked well, and we saw an opportunity for further consolidation of weekend hours in 2010 to realize even greater efficiencies in dining.”

Though Stinchcomb maintained that the changes have only minimally impacted student employees who have picked up shifts at RPCC, the time switches have had several unexpected consequences for students. Student employees who worked the Friday night and Saturday shifts at Appel have had to change shifts.

“[The changes] have been mildly annoying,” said Martha Austen ’13, a student employee at Appel, who used to work the Saturday lunch shift, but now works Monday nights. “I like having more free time on Saturday, but there are clubs I can’t go to on Monday now … It would have been nice if they had told us before the beginning of the semester when we were scheduling classes.”

The changes have also impacted those with vegetarian or vegan diets. Though RPCC offers many options for vegetarians and vegans –– with items offered at the traditional hot food station, the grill, the soup station, the Asian wok, and the pasta bar –– some students have complained that RPCC’s vegetarian and vegan offerings are not as consistent as those offered at Appel.

“Oftentimes, the vegan and vegetarian options are very limited and aren’t necessarily the most nutritious,” said Jessie Palmer ’13, who keeps to a vegetarian diet.

“At [RPCC], they do have a lot of vegetarian options, but they don’t tend to cater to vegans,” said Lauren Schorr ’13. “[RPCC has] a vegetarian and vegan bar, but a lot of times what’s at that bar is hummus, pita, or beets … and that doesn’t constitute a meal.”

Students also expressed concern with how the change would affect the dining atmosphere and wished the adjustments had been more transparent.

“I feel like [Appel and RPCC] help forge healthy relationships between people of the freshman class,” Schorr explained. “When you close one of them it makes it so that the other is excessively crowded, and people are irritated because it’s hard to get food. It just doesn’t make for a healthy environment in my opinion.”

“I understand that in order to be efficient [Cornell Dining] has to make tough choices, but I think they should have been more forthcoming with those changes so people could have made accommodations,” Palmer added. “Part of being a service to the students is including the students in the decision-making process and the managing of those student facilities.”

Original Author: Emily Greenberg