OPINION: Blue Demon Dining hours are not a serve


Jake Cox

The Lincoln Park Blue Demon Dining hall is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10.30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

DePaul freshman Ella Wheaton steps off the train, finally arriving in Lincoln Park after a grueling night class in the Loop campus. She’s eager to get a quick meal from the dining hall; but for Wheaton, it’s not that simple. By the time she arrives back in Lincoln Park, the dining hall is closed. Her other option, 312 Diner is, per usual, packed. Exhausted and frustrated, Wheaton bites the bullet and resorts to a frozen meal from ETC. 

The dining hall should be open later to accommodate students’ hectic schedules. There should not be a choice that has to be made between getting a meal and going to class. In addition, it makes assumptions that all students are going to eat at small windows of time. If they choose not to, they are forced to use their own money, an unreasonable expectation for college students. 

“I have a night class on Wednesday nights, and it ends at nine and it’s at the Loop, so by the time I get back it’s like 9:30 p.m.,” Wheaton said. “I think closing at eight does not accommodate people who have night classes, and I know quite a few people who have night classes.”

This sentiment rings true for freshman Ava Maginity. 

“The hours are a bit frustrating,” Maginity said. “The general dinner hours are inconvenient when I have night classes.”

There are a few more options for students, but they are not ideal. The 312 Diner is open until 10:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:45 p.m. on weekends. From limited options to long lines, students cannot be expected to resort to 312. Transit (Quality Meals to Go) is open an hour longer than the main dining hall, closing at 9 p.m. but with a short menu and not being open on weekends, it’s not much of an option. 

“By the time I get back, the only thing open is 312 which has a crazy long line,” Wheaton said. “It’s the only one open, and I’m generally very hungry at the time, so I end up just going to ETC,  the convenience store in the LPC Student Center.” 

Another concern of students is the dining hall drastically limiting meal options during non-peak hours. Students are all paying the same one meal swipe for access to very different options depending on when they decide to get a meal. 

“The options are so limited in the food they’re serving between the hours of like 10 a.m.-11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.- 4 p.m. because that’s when they change meals. But that’s usually when I get lunch and as a vegetarian there are virtually no options,” Maginity said.  

Jake Cox

In addition, the dining hall doesn’t open early enough to accommodate students with morning classes. Students should have the opportunity to get a meal before class if they want one. 

“I know people who have morning classes and that’s [dining not opening until 8 a.m.] is an inconvenience for them if they wanted to get food beforehand,” Wheaton said. “It is a whole other thing to use your real money and go shopping and get breakfast and things like that.”

For students who wake up early on weekends, the same tune is repeated. 

“Weekend breakfast hours should definitely start earlier,” Maginity said. “Food should be accessible for people at the start of their days, and opening breakfast at 10:30 a.m. makes that difficult.”

Another concern is the money students waste by being unable to use their meal swipes because they frankly do not have enough time in the day to use them.  

When asked, “Do you usually use all of your weekly meal swipes?” via a Snapchat poll, 288 students responded. Out of the responses, 234 students responded “no.”  The respondents were all DePaul freshmen. 

While this result could be attributed to other factors, one of them is the hours not being accessible to all students. 

On the flip side, many students are satisfied with the services provided by dining, while empathizing with other students.

“I’m not someone who likes to eat super late at night anyways, and I don’t eat breakfast so the current times suit me well, but I can understand how it would be nice to have longer hours,” freshman Lily Wening said.

However, according to dining hall management, students haven’t expressed these concerns to staff. 

“I spoke with staff from Housing, Dining, and Student Centers,” director of housing, dining, and student centers Rick Moreci said. “All I have spoken with have said that they have not received any feedback about dining hours at all from students.”

While this is important to note, it doesn’t diminish the complaints students have expressed informally.

Students who would like to express their concerns on this issue may reach out to the student center or dining hall management staff. Feedback can be submitted here

In comparison, Loyola University Chicago has dining halls open until 11 p.m. on weeknights. A far cry from DePaul’s 8 p.m. Loyola dining also opens at 7:30 on weekdays, and 8:30 on weekends. These hours are far more accommodating than what DePaul currently offers. 

The bottom line students are feeling that their experience dining at DePaul is not as accessible as it should be. The hours should be expanded to better reflect the busy schedules of college students. Especially for students who live on campus, and are required to have a meal plan. We deserve to get what we are paying for and have convenient access to dining at DePaul. 

“Right now, it’s inconvenient when dining halls should be convenient,” Wheaton said.