Dining restrictions and benefits for students on campus over Spring Break

Spring break meal plans are free to students with meal plans who stay on campus but only Northwest Dining Hall, pictured above, will be operating, and only at certain times of the day. Students must sign up for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for every day they will need them, and can only swipe in once for each meal time they sign up for. (Carly Zaleski/Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s Dining Services will still service students who remain on campus with meal plans over the week of Spring Break – though in a much more restricted manner. While this may pose as an inconvenience to some students, Spring Break meals are available free of charge.

“Meals during Spring Break are given to those that have current traditional meal plans, at no cost to them,” Dining Services executive director Dennis Pierce said.

Meals served over weeklong breaks are not accounted for in students’ per-semester meal plan charge. In fact, they’re not even part of the meal plan, and Dining Services provides them “gratis,” Pierce said.

The restrictions, though, are that only one dining hall on campus, Northwest Dining Hall, will be operating, and only at certain times of the day. Students must sign up for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for every day they will need them, and can only swipe in once for each meal time they sign up for, Pierce said.

“There are no flex meals during break and points cannot be used during break,” Pierce said. “Unlike unlimited access we have during the semester, break meals limit you to only entering once during a meal period.”

Dining restrictions begin Friday, Mar. 11 and carry on through brunch on Sunday, Mar. 20. Only Northwest will be open during the break week. Students should recall that Putnam Dining Hall will close for renovations during break and will not re-open for the remainder of the semester. According to Pierce and Dining Services’ website, the following schedule will go into effect for the break:

Mar. 11: Normal operations during day, South and Northwest only open for dinner (4:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.) 

Mar. 12 – Mar. 19: Northwest open only

            Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

            Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.

            Dinner: 4:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

Mar. 20: Restrictions for breakfast and brunch, all units (except Putnam) resume normal operations by dinner

            Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (South only)

            Brunch: 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (South and Northwest only, semester meal plans begin)

            Dinner: 4:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. (all units except Putnam)

Dining Services budgets these courtesy meals based on participation history, Pierce said.

“The cost of (each) meal is not established specific to the break period,” Pierce said. “It is just considered in general operating funds.”

In choosing which dining hall to keep in operation over breaks, centrality on campus is not a consideration, Pierce said.

“We base (the decision) on what projects that we have and what we need to accomplish,” Pierce said. “There are so few times when we can get tasks done.”

Pierce said the university asked Dining Services and Residential Life to remain open over the Spring and Thanksgiving breaks starting in 2009. This was mainly due to the fact that a large portion of UConn’s international and out of state populations could not travel home over these weeklong breaks, Pierce said. 

“We have a large international population, in addition to many students who live far away and cannot afford to return home during these periods,” Pierce said.

Students must sign up for meal times on Dining Services’ website in order to be serviced during the break.


Molly Stadnicki is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.stadnicki@uconn.edu.