Campus Dining Limits Hours at Locke’s Loft

by Katie Heneghan, Web Editor

Locke’s Loft, the main dining hall on campus, will remain at reduced hours for the foreseeable future of the 2021-2022 school year despite the conflicts this causes for some students. The dining hall is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Ken Waldhof, director of business and client services at the college, told the Quadrangle via email that while these hours are the same as last year, it is a result of the last effects of the pandemic on the food service industry.

“Several dining services establishments across the country have been affected by fewer resources and personnel. We are not an exception to that,” Waldhof wrote.

Dining services understands the impact this may have on students and athletes who rely on Locke’s Loft all- you-can-eat dining for meals after night classes, practices or games.

“To address those gaps, we have partnered with several off-campus eateries that take Dining and Jasper Dollars, and have meal plan eligible items in the C-Store in Thomas Hall that are available until 10pm,” Waldhof wrote.

With most night classes ending after 8:00 p.m., this has proved to be a challenge for students.

Sophomore member of the Manhattan College dance team Kathleen Connelly finds the hours inconvenient to her busy schedule with classes and practices.

“Locke’s closing at 8 does affect my schedule. To be honest, all of Locke’s hours affect my schedule. I do not like to eat right before practice and by the time I get out of practice sometimes Locke’s is already closed,” she said.

Yet, the night hours are not the only issue for various students who have busy schedules.

“Even the early morning practices that I have on the weekends are messed up with Locke’s hours. There are many athletes on campus with varying practice times and Locke’s hours are not very accommodating,” said Connelly.

While Jasper Dollars are accepted in restaurants and businesses surrounding campus, some students like Connelly believe this isn’t the solution.

“After Locke’s closes, there are some delis or pizzerias that accept our Jasper Dollars, but they are not always so convenient as many people would prefer to not wander around the Bronx alone after it is dark,” she said.

The typical resident meal plan on campus includes unlimited meal swipes at Locke’s Loft, $50 Dining Dollars to on-campus venues, and $25 bonus dollars to use as either Jasper Dollars or Dining Dollars.

“I think there is a problem with accessibility to affordable food options on campus. I honestly do not think we are given enough Jasper Dollars and Dining Dollars. I also do not think there are enough places to use this. I do not believe Sip and Chill even opened this semester. Provisions is good, but it is not like you can get a real meal from there. As far as Jasper Dollars, I think there [should be] even more places around campus that should accept them,” Connelly said.

Sophomore Nicole Kelly shares a similar opinion to Connelly regarding the hours at Locke’s being different from previous years on campus prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“I think that the hours should be longer as it is the only place to eat on campus, other than the limited Jasper Dollars and Dining Dollars. I understand that they have to close for cleaning and that there is a limited amount of staff. I have a lot of snacks in my room and go to the delis a lot so it’s not extremely hard to work around, but I can see it being a problem for other students,” Kelly said.

Kelly suggested that there should be more options for students both inside and outside of Locke’s Loft through a larger access to Dining and Jasper Dollars and more to-go options in the dining hall itself.

“I think that they could add more Dining and Jasper Dollars, so it is easier for students to access food when Locke’s is closed,” Kelly said. “I also think they should supply a grab-and- go option like they had last year so students can grab food for later since Locke’s closes at eight. I think having a grab- and-go option would clear up a lot of issues revolving around Locke’s hours. It’s a solution that would not cause a whole ‘operation’: more staff, longer hours or creating another dining area.”

Despite the challenges of Locke’s Loft during the pandemic, students and faculty are trying to address the ways the dining hall can accommodate all students to ensure members of the community have access to meals everyday.