Have you used the dormitory cafeteria on a Saturday? Students who stay in the dormitory during the weekend can have meals at a low price and do not have to travel down from the dormitory to get their meals. However, the school announced they will no longer operate the dormitory cafeteria on Saturdays beginning this semester. The Dankook Herald (DKH) took a closer look at this change to help Dankookians (Students of Dankook University) better understand the situation.
The DKH conducted an anonymous survey of Dankookians. We wanted to know what students think about the recent Saturday closure and how satisfied they were overall with the school cafeteria. The first question we asked was how often they used the dormitory cafeteria on Saturdays. 29.2 percent of respondents reported using it every Saturday and another 29.2 percent of students said they never did. 16.7 percent of participants reported using the dormitory cafeteria only once a month. The survey also revealed that 33.3 percent of students found out about this new regulation through the student community application, ‘Every-time’. 25 percent reported finding out about it through the Dankook University’s portal website and 13 percent of Dankookians were unaware of the policy change.
So what are the students eating instead? Most reported buying inexpensive junk food from the convenience store or local restaurants, while some choose to skip their meals altogether. When asked about how they felt about the change in operating days, the answers were almost all negative. Some students called it inconvenient for people in the dormitory to go out for every meal on weekends. They also want to know why the school made the change and wondered what the purpose was of staying in the dormitory if the school was not prepared to provide a cafeteria for accessible meals. Respondents suggested an alternative would have been to require students who need the service to reserve their meals in advance. The decision was criticized as a means to create profit without acknowledging the fact that the cafeteria’s low sales are a result of unappetizing meals. 58.3 percent of students said they intended to use the dormitory cafeteria on Saturdays, but the rest were fine without it. The DKH also sought suggestions for improving the school cafeteria. Most students who participated in the survey said, “it is not a matter of whether or not school operates on Saturday, but the food menu is limited and the price is unreasonable with the same unqualified menu every time.” Other students mentioned the need to improve the overall hygiene of the facility and to provide a tastier, healthier menu. Some also called for a change in operations from Shinsegae (the current food provider) to other contractors.
|▲ The inside of dormitory cafeteria. (Photo from Dankookherald)|
The DKU interviewed cafeteria management to further understand the closure decision.
Q: What is the reason for the dormitory cafeteria’s Saturday shut down?
A: We had a hard time finding a cook while we were running a restaurant every day of the week. After the enforcement of the 52-hour work week, the difficulty of finding a cook to cover 7 days was compounded and to solve this problem we had to shut down on Saturdays. Because there were more people who used the facility on Sunday, we opted to close Saturdays.
Q: Are you planning to run a dormitory cafeteria on Saturday in the future?
A: No. We will not operate the dormitory cafeteria on Saturdays from now on. But the staff restaurant in the Law Building runs on Saturday, so students can use it instead of the dormitory cafeteria.
Q: What do you think about the inconvenience to many students?
A: I feel sorry towards them. However, if the cafeteria opens on Saturday, it causes many issues, so we had to suspend the service.
Q: Are there any other changes planned for the dormitory cafeteria in the future?
A: Nothing is officially planned yet.
The DKH also took the time to compare our cafeteria with those in other nearby universities. (Students from Myongji University and Ajou University participated in the interview.)
Q: Does the dorm cafeteria operate on Saturdays? If so, what’s the difference in services as compared to weekdays?
Myongji: Yes, the cafeteria is in operation on Saturdays. During weekdays we can’t have lunch in the cafeteria, but on the weekend, lunch meals are provided.
Ajou: Our dormitory cafeteria operates on weekends. However, there are fewer menu choices as compared to weekdays.
Q: How often do you use the cafeteria services?
Myongji: Two or three times a week.
Ajou: I don’t use it often, usually about five times a month.
Q: Are you satisfied with the services provided by your dormitory cafeteria?
Myongji: I am generally satisfied with it.
Ajou: I am satisfied because it offers a better quantity and quality than the school cafeteria.
Q: How would you like your school dormitory cafeteria to be changed in the future?
Myongji: I’d like to get some quality food in the dormitory cafeteria.
Ajou: I hope the operating times could be extended.
The dormitory cafeteria is for the convenience of students living in residence. However, since it closed on Saturdays, students are suffering from the increased inconvenience. The dormitory is also located deep into the campus property, far from other restaurants, making it difficult for students to access alternative meals. The school should listen to the grievances of the students and reconsider the implementation of their unpopular regulation. The goal should always be to improve the overall quality of services for their students.
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