Last week, Wilson College dining hall opened for breakfast – early. It was not brunch, and it was early enough for students with morning commitments to fill their bellies beforehand. At 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Wilson College is now open for breakfast.
Currently, Wilson College dining hall is the only dining hall that is open for breakfast on weekends, as other dining halls on campus do not begin operations until 10 a.m. Brunch hours for Wilson College have not changed and remain from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The new breakfast hours are one of the many changes implemented by the Princeton University Board Plan Review Committee, according to Smitha Haneef, Executive Director of Campus Dining and co-chair of the committee.
“This recommendation came from focus group discussions that took place last year,” said Oliver Avens, Dean of Rockefeller College and co-chair of the committee. “It was a broad sector of students who felt they would benefit from having an earlier breakfast opportunity on the weekends.”
There were a number of focus groups, Avens remarks. Many were open focus groups that were advertised on Campus Dining’s website and the residential college offices. Others were selected based on class year or activities.
Avens cites students who had to get up early for work, student-athletes, among others as some of the beneficiaries of this change.
As for why Wilson College dining hall was the one chosen to host breakfast, Haneef said, “We evaluated all of our dining halls, and proximity and location were a driving factor.” She noted that Wilson College dining hall was the most central location based on travel patterns of the students, according to information from focus groups.
Despite misconceptions that most college students do not get up early, there was an impressive turnout at the first breakfast of the year. Between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., the dining hall was roughly half-filled with students.
Most students in attendance had positive comments about the new breakfast hours.
“The reason I wake up early is because I am an international student and this is the only time I can talk to my family,” said Anna Dong ’20. “If there is no breakfast until 10 [a.m.], it means that I do not have food for an extended period of time.”
“It is really convenient that I can grab food from the dining hall, rather than having to go out of my way,” Dong said. She would otherwise get food at Frist Gallery or Wawa, which she notes is not as nutritional.
“It inspires me to get up earlier,” said Emily Hilliard ’20. “A lot of my roommates have stuff at 9 [a.m.], so they are very happy they can get breakfast before they get out. One had makeup lab, another had a training session for a club, and one had to go to New York, so it was nice we could get breakfast together.”
Khanh Vu ’20 said she was glad there was a place to get hot food. Otherwise she would wait until 10 a.m. for breakfast.
Among the lunch crowd, there were also positive comments about the new hours.
William Sweeny ’20 said that the new hours were convenient, though he adds that he does not usually get up early.
As a part of the Committee’s review, there have also been other changes on campus. Along with weekend breakfast, upperclassmen on the Block 95 plan will now receive 250 points to spend at retail dining spaces on campus, residential college advisers now have 10 guest swipes as a part of their meal plan, and the meal exchange system has also moved from a paper-based system to an electronic system.
More information can be found on the Campus Dining website, which was recently updated as part of the Committee’s review to allow students to access pertinent information more easily.