Dennis Pierce, executive director of dining services at the University of Connecticut, reiterated the financial reasons for Buckley Dining Hall’s current hours of operation in response to a recent student-led petition to have Buckley Dining Hall reopen on weekends.
Buckley first closed for weekends in 2017 because the investment in weekend hours was not financially viable for dining services, Pierce said. He said that this was not an easy decision to make but a necessary one nonetheless.
“Financially, it was not prudent to be open because of low counts/insufficient income versus the overhead cost,” Pierce said. “As dining is a business, and we have to be good stewards of our finances, we have to make those hard decisions that unfortunately are an inconvenience to our customers.”
This is not the first petition in recent years for Buckley Dining Hall to reopen on weekends, something Pierce feels is likely founded in student’s aversion to walking in winter weather. He understands this, but said that it does not justify a financial loss for dining services.
Pierce also pointed out that Buckley was not the only area of dining services affected; hours of service have been shortened, a café on campus was closed and staff reductions were made. Pierce said students should keep in mind the fact that dining services is a self-sustaining business.
“Yes, it may be construed to be not convenient because we are living in the Northeast with occasional inclement weather; however, dining sometimes has to make those tough decisions as we remain a business that is self-supporting and is not subsidized by the university,” Pierce said.
There are currently no plans for Buckley to reopen, but Pierce said that it can still be a valuable tool in case of future developments.
“I do think the petition would be worthwhile to review so that we can see the nature of the responses in case in the future if the environment changes,” Pierce said.
Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.