Dining Beat: Whitney adds student-driven dining hall playlist  

Whitney Dining Hall, pictured above, is one of few dining halls on campus that plays music. This semester, they have a new system in place that allows students to add to the playlist that gets played over the speakers. (Photo courtesy of UConn Dining Services Twitter)

This semester, Whitney Dining Hall has begun playing a student-curated collection of music during select hours. Students can add songs to the Spotify playlist by scanning a QR code placed around the dining hall.  

David Barbera, area manager of Whitney, said the motivation was hearing from students and getting their input on what should be played at the dining halls.  

“The music system was part of the renovation that occurred in the summer of 2019. Since then, we have always played music throughout the day. But this is the first semester we decided to get input from the students,” Barbera said.  

“The idea came from my student manager. He thought it would be cool if we let the students choose their own playlist and then play it every now and then, so we created an account and posted a QR code that students could scan to open the playlist and add songs to it. Each week, we reset it,” Barbera said. 

Barbera also noted how popular the new feature was, with students constantly adding new songs. 

“At the current time, there are 165 songs that have been added to the list by students.  It’s just about 10 hours’ worth of songs, so the participation has been good and the music has been well-received,” Barbera said. 

Furthermore, Barbera said he will often play songs that were just added, even outside students’ choice music hours. He observed this often results in excited reactions from students.  

“On days we are not playing it, I will randomly open the playlist and see if anything has been added in the last five minutes. If so, I stop the music playing at the time and play that song that was just requested,” Barbera said. “Often, you will hear out in the dining hall ‘Oh my gosh, that is the song I just requested!’” 

Finally, Barbera said students can expect the playlist to be in rotation when there are music choice signs up. 

“When we do play the full playlist, we post signs in the lobby and on the two silverware stands saying that the music being played now is the music you chose,” Barbera said. 

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