The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

Change in Armstrong dining hours sparks student frustration over mandatory meal plans

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Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this article, a quote was used with a derogatory term that perpetuates negative stereotypes. The article has been updated to remove this term. We apologize for the error and are committed to fair and accurate reporting.

Sage Arthur, a freshman on Armstrong’s campus, feels as if they have been cheated. “I can’t even go the whole week and use what I paid for.”

The change in operating hours at the Galley, Armstrong’s primary dining facility, has left students like Arthur frustrated and questioning the value of their mandatory dining plans.

In previous years, the Galley was open every day until 9:00 p.m. with the exception of Friday and Saturday, which had 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. closing times, respectively.

Now open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekends, the new schedule marks a significant shift from its previous seven-day operation, affecting freshmen especially, who are required to purchase dining plans.

In an email from the Engagement and Communications Strategist April Burke, The Galley’s new hours are a result of low foot-traffic on the weekends, as well as concerns about food waste and offering better service and food during the weekdays.

“Our Eagle Dining team closely analyzed the hourly patron counts and participation level at The Galley and adjusted business hours to suit this demand,” the email reads. “Changing our service to suit student demand allows us to utilize both labor and food options to serve our guests during the busiest operating hours.”

The email goes on to explain that Georgia Southern’s senior leadership and management teams aim to create a positive dining experience for all students.

Freshmen are mandated to purchase an Eagle Five dining plan, which costs $820.

While their website states that purchasing a dining plan “eliminates the stress of grocery shopping, meal-prepping or rushed meals,” students have expressed dissatisfaction about the new hours.

“It just makes it a bit frustrating,” said freshman Johana Pierre Louis. “This weekend I actually walked to Walmart and back. It was so far. I was sweating so much.”

Freshman Rylee Toole says the early closing time does not give students enough free time after class to complete other tasks.

“Sometimes you have classes that are really long and you want to go do some other things before you get dinner,” Toole said. “And then, oh, it’s 7:15. You’re out of luck.”

The closing time is inconvenient and incongruent with people’s schedules, says freshman Mak Bergmann-Glover.

Bergmann-Glover described a situation where they went to the dining hall with a group of friends around 6:30 p.m. Once they arrived, a single slice of pizza remained alongside some rice and onion rings.

The University is offering Southern Café as a weekend dining alternative. Its hours of operation on Saturday and Sunday are 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. It opens again from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for dinner.

Both Toole and Bergmann-Glover showed discontent with the hours and the food available at Southern Café.

Additional on-campus dining options include Chick-fil-a, Starbucks and The Perk, all of which close before 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. They do not operate on the weekends.

Many students I spoke to claim to rely on personal vehicles or others for transportation to grocery shop on the weekend. Others stated that they use delivery services or receive food from family and friends.

If you are in need of an additional food source, please visit The Captain’s Cupboard Food Pantry.

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