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Dining hall hours expanding next fall

Beginning fall quarter, Western dining halls will open at 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays, allowing students to get their fix of bacon, pancakes and pizza a half-hour earlier. The earlier opening time is a result of student requests that the dining hall serve brunch before 10:30 a.m. on the weekends, Associate Director for University Residences Kurt Willis said.  As a result of the change, students with a 125-meal plan will pay about $5 more for the academic year. The added half-hour will impact staffing hours the most, as it will cost around $20,000 more per academic year, Willis said. Nicholas Hall, a freshman and current employee at the Viking Commons, agrees that the new time should benefit students and won't be a nuisance to his own schedule. "I work brunch most weekends and I would be okay with getting here a half-hour earlier,” Hall said. “People are always lined up when we start at 10:30 a.m. I feel like 10 a.m. will be an improvement." Dining hall access data, which tracks how many students are in the dining hall at a time, showed that the early brunch hours were "pinch points," or points in the day with a high volume of students, Willis said. The data, when paired with feedback from students, suggest that earlier brunch times would be a better way to accommodate more students on the weekend, Willis said. Students who wake up well before the 10:30 start time gave comments to the dining hall requesting an earlier start time, he said. “I just get up early and sometimes there is not enough food around to eat, so 10 a.m. is better." freshman Leah Olver said. Although some students said they do choose to sleep in on the weekend, they acknowledge that not everyone does the same and that those early risers would appreciate the new time. “I usually don’t get up that early on the weekends. I know for people who work, [10:30 a.m.] wouldn’t be that great because they have to get up early,” freshman Leah Seitz said. Students will get an additional half-hour added to the brunch availability, as the closing time will remain at 1:30 p.m. “There will be more availability so I think students will enjoy it, we all have different schedules for when we wake up and when we want to eat. If they increase the availability, I don’t see how it could be a problem,” junior Melinda Chinen said.

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