Student petition demands longer hours at West Hall

Student petition demands longer hours at West Hall

Student petition demands longer hours at West Hall
September 17
00:27 2015

Alejandro Medellin | Staff Writer

@skinny_fats

Students who dine at West Hall cafeteria may soon enjoy longer hours if one resident has his way.

Tom Luepke, a mechanical engineering senior who lives at West Hall, started a petition that asks the cafeteria to extend its hours for lunch and dinner services by one and a half hours. Residence hall officials say it’s possible to extend the hours, but due to university funding, the move would not happen until next year at the earliest.

Luepke, who has lived at West Hall for six years at UNT, said hours at the cafeteria, which serves the smallest volume of students, have been shortened and breakfast is no longer served.

“I want the hours to be longer because some people might get out of class later than usual and try to get something to eat, but by the time they get here it might be closed,” mechanical and energy engineering junior David Zakaria said.

Peter Balabuch, the director for resident dining, said the university can change the hours, but it will not be anytime soon, as the budget needs to be adjusted.

“There’s a possibility of moving hours if there is more of a need, and it’s something we’ve done before in the past,” Balabuch said.

Luepke’s petition needs more signatures before it can be effective.

9-17-15-westhallweb

Mechanical engineering senior and West Hall resident Tom Luepke started a petition asking that the cafeteria extend its hours for lunch and dinner services. Luepke says many students are unaware West’s dining hall is even open. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Tom Luepke, a mechanical engineering senior who lives at West Hall, started a petition that asks the cafeteria to extend its hours for lunch and dinner services by one and a half hours.

He also said he got a few signatures at wing meetings, the cafeteria and the lobby before he found out he could not solicit there, even though he lived at West.

West Hall cafeteria has its own meal plan and it’s the cheapest on campus, with a $5 charge for walk-ins. The plan is dining services’ answer to food insecurity, or students not being able to eat because of financial issues.

“Operating costs become the same and we can no longer do an affordable meal plan,” Balabuch said when asked about the longer hours.

He also said the new meal plan options were introduced to increase traffic at West Hall cafeteria so it would be more relevant.

Some West Hall employees approve of the current hours.

“Bruce and Kerr themselves could feed the university,” assistant hall director Hunter Zachariah Kraft said. “We should be grateful that dining has allowed West Hall to be open. We should be grateful that West is open at all.”

With enough signatures, the hours could be shifted to accommodate students, but Luepke said some students don’t even know West Hall cafeteria is open for business.

“We need a banner out front that says, ‘Cafeteria open, we have food,’” Luepke said.

Featured Image: Mechanical Engineering major Tom Luepke holds the
petition to change dining hall hours on Sept. 16.  Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

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