With students returning to campus, the Valley Dining Center has been experiencing lines of students outside the doors, waiting to receive indoor seating with their meals. This is due to several factors, according to Judy Gipper, Director of Dining Services.
Gipper said that the first would be due to the popularity of the dining center. Since the opening of the building in 2016, students gravitated towards the location because of the mirco-restaurants and the closeness to the Valley dorms.
She said that typically as the fall semester goes on, students will eventually form a schedule, so the line will decrease.
"With classes especially,” Gipper said. “Soon they're going to be driven by their class schedules, which will spread them out.”
Another factor Gipper mentioned was the enforcement of social distancing and masks. Because of this, seating had to be spread out, which results in less space for students to congregate in. She added that students have been doing great with social distancing and wearing their masks.
Gipper also said that the implementation of touchless card swiping has caused a line out the door. Previously, students would hand their Bronco ID to a worker who would swipe it for them. Now, students do this themselves and are still learning the process.
Also, due to Gov. Whitmer’s orders, dining halls had to implement a capacity limit. Valley Dining Center now has only 400 seats available for students. This also causes students to form outside.
While Gipper said the lines will eventually die down as students ease into their schedules, she recommends that students use the other option for dining.
She said that students can use the grab’n’go option for dining, which is not getting a lot of use. This system was implemented so those that didn’t feel safe eating indoors can still get their meals.
Students are also encouraged to use the other dining center on campus, Hoekje/Bigelow, which is located in the Bernhard Center. Gipper said that the dining hall is not being used as much, so students should be able to walk in and sit down.
Additionally, Valley Dining Center is also implementing a Late-Night option, which goes from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Gipper recommends students use the later times as well.
“We’d like students to know their other options and give them a try,” Gipper said.
The amount of students have also been counted as they enter and leave, Gipper said. Dining Services is currently working on a system that would allow students to see how full the dining centers are. This will spread out the lines since it allows students to determine if they should go to the dining center or to wait.