Schulze cafeteria needs longer meal hours

Beau Benoit, Circulation & Marketing Director

Time and time again I find myself curbing my hunger in the same place: the cafeteria. I love Schulze, but I do have a problem with its hours of operation. It’s not always schedule-friendly.

Last semester, I had a few classes until noon. Then I had to walk 10 minutes to the cafeteria while having another class at 1 p.m. Although one hour seems like plenty of time to eat lunch, the lines on Fried Chicken Wednesday make you think otherwise. 

Don’t forget lunch ends at 2 p.m., so make sure you pack your running shoes if you’re pressed for time. Many students are on the same time crunch for lunch as I was. It’s not uncommon to see people rushing across campus just to use their meal swipes—meal swipes included in their expensive meal plan. 

Dinner isn’t safe from criticism either. For me, the ideal dinner time is in the late evening around 8 p.m. The only problem is Schulze closes at 7 p.m. on Fridays and weekends, then at 8 p.m. on weekdays. Evening courses and labs occur during many of Schulze’s dinner hours.

 If a student is involved in any RSO, Schulze’s mealtimes most likely fall during meetings. People who already bought a meal plan must choose between eating dinner very early or spending even more money on fast food.

Students should not have to choose between eating a meal or going to class. By forcing students to miss meals, ULM promotes unhealthy eating habits. 

According to a survey by Insider, while most American dinner times fall between 6 and 7 p.m., they can vary widely, even going past 9 p.m. For international students, a late dinner may feel more natural. For example, dinner begins at 10 p.m. in Spain., according to a study abroad blog by the University of Delaware. It makes sense to cater to the habits and customs of international students, given their large demographic at ULM.

The best solution for students would be to extend the operation hours and eliminate the two-hour dead zone. However, that would mean more work for the Schulze staff. If you add more self-serve stations like the salad bar, then the problem disappears. Although staff would still have to ensure stations had food during extended hours, students would just serve themselves mid-afternoon lunches and late-night snacks. 

I know it’s difficult to plan for everyone, but only three to four available hours of dinner is too brief. If students could serve themselves during later hours of the evening, Schulze would be the perfect dining spot.