Extended dining hours will benefit university residents

Nadine Matas / Contributing Writer

Florida International University has a vast number of eating establishments on campus to accommodate students living on campus.

These students  usually live on campus for the entire semester, and are sometimes on campus and in their dorms over the breaks.

Jose Sirven, president of the Residential Hall Association, says these students are the highest number attending campus restaurants since they are the closest and most convenient places to find food.

Sirven explains “there are students who are on campus 24/7 and work, then need to find a place to eat when they come home.”

This is an issue the Residential Hall Association has been attempting to resolve over the last few months.

Sirven, a sophomore majoring in international relations, has been at the head of negotiations with Aramark and the University to extend the hours of operation of the on campus food places.

“We started off with a lot of research and then I actually managed to speak with President Rosenberg about the issue we were facing.”

RHAs research showed that a reoccurring issue students seemed to be facing was the early closing hours for most eating establishments on campus.

Erica Phillips, a senior Asian Studies major, says, “I remember being a freshman and hating that either nothing was open on the weekends or that, if something was open, it would always close super early.”

Sirven explains “after that step we have a meeting with representatives from Aramark, who actually interviewed me asking what we would need.”

According to Sirven, the process was long and difficult, “We had to find ways of getting feedback from the students, once we had that we started sending out surveys and getting as many people to fill them out as possible to show the need for the extension of hours.”

Aramark then came to an agreement with the University and its food providers, as well as the Office of Residential Life and RHA, to extend the hours.

Fresh Food now closes at 9 p.m. on weekends, which Sirven says is a small step in their future plans.

Phillips says, “I don’t go to Fresh Foods as much as I used to because I don’t have the unlimited plan that I had while I was a freshman, but even still I love the fact that Fresh has extended hours.”

“Some students don’t even have kitchens in their dorms so they need to find a place to eat.” Sirven says. He adds that “this is only the first step” something he insists on pointing out.

“The goal is that perhaps one day we can get some places to stay open 24/7 for students.”

Sirven says, “Students have different working hours and some come home late at night from their shifts, so it would be good to have a place for them to eat instead of having to make food at that time, especially if they don’t have a kitchen in their dorm or work on weekends.”

RHA is working not only on the project of further extending dining hours, but also on a free transportation system to get the residents easier access to other locations around the university. Sirven says that he and his team are working hard.

“[We] and the students have been disgruntled, but know we will make this possible one day. There’s definitely a lot more to come.”  

[Image from Flickr]

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