Students can expect significant changes to campus dining in the spring semester, as Whitman dining hall is expanding and absorbing Butler dining hall’s operations and the proposed dining pilot for upperclassmen is set to be launched on Feb. 27.
On Jan. 20, residents of Whitman Residential College received an email informing them that, beginning in the fall of 2023 and for the duration of Hobson College construction, Whitman’s dining operations will be merged with those of Butler Residential College.
According to the email, sent by Dean Jaclyn Schwalm and Head of College Claire Gmachl, a “semi-permanent structure” will be built outside the Guggenheim Gallery to increase seating. The Guggenheim Gallery is the area for art installation just inside the main entryway to Whitman College, through which visitors can access the Class of 1970 Theater and Community Hall (the dining hall). A “semi-permanent structure” outside the Guggenheim Gallery suggests some sort of dining arrangement on Whitman’s front lawn — which has been under construction since Quarter 2 of 2021.
Schwalm and Gmachl added that “the kitchen and servery are being renovated, and new dining options will be added.” The combination of dining operations suggests the University may close Wilcox Dining Hall in Butler College, though the email did not explicitly state this. The University previously proposed a temporary dining facility to replace Wilcox Dining Hall, as parts of the facility are housed in First College, which is in process of being demolished.
According to the email, during the spring semester, the tables in Whitman’s dining hall will be regularly rearranged “to test the best flow of diners in and out of the servery and dining areas.”
Amid university expansion, changes to the dining halls loom at the same time as a proposed Dining Pilot for upperclassmen. The pilot, which was officially announced on Nov. 10, 2022, will allow participants to eat five meals at any dining institution on campus each week, including at eating clubs and co-ops as well as at dining halls. The pilot has been criticized for lacking student input during its development.
Schwalm and Gmachl’s email did not mention the dining pilot, nor was it discussed at the Class of 2025 Dining Options Panel. The panel, held on Jan. 19 at 12 p.m. ET over Zoom, was hosted by Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students Bryant Blount ’08.
In an email to the ‘Prince,’ University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss shared that “a pre-pilot assessment will be sent to all juniors and seniors” during the week of Feb. 13, and students selected to be pilot participants will be notified via email during the week of Feb. 20. By the end of that week, a town hall meeting for juniors and seniors will be held. The pilot will take place between Feb. 27 and Apr. 30. This information is also available on the dining pilot website.
While the Jan. 19 panel did not mention the impact of the pilot on existing dining options next fall, Housing Engagement Specialist Dennis Daly confirmed that sophomores may put their Pay with Points towards eating club dues in their spring semester.
Also at the panel, Interclub Council President Sophie Singletary ’23 informed sophomores of notable eating club dates for the Spring 2023 semester, and 2D Co-op Representative Liam Seeley ’23 promoted 2D co-op and outlined the procedures for joining co-ops.
Olivia Sanchez is a News contributor for the ‘Prince.’ Please direct all corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.