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UI expands use of residence hall dining plans

BY JORDAN MICKLE | AUGUST 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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As classes end during the lunch and dinner hours, the lines begin to pile up at both the Burge and Hillcrest Marketplaces, and part of the reason for the lines is the result of the number of incoming freshmen.

Michael Barron, the University of Iowa assistant provost for Admissions, said the number of students will probably be a record, but he is not sure what that final number will be because of ongoing student registration.

He attributes the influx of students to the UI’s Enrollment Management Plan. The plan sought to expand class sizes by 100 students over the course of five years.

“However, we ended up getting this result in one year,” Barron said, referring to the university’s record enrollment of last year’s 4,557 incoming freshmen. UI officials intend to maintain that number, he said.

The numbers will be released next week, Barron said.

To prevent overcrowding in the dorm dining halls, the university has expanded dining options for students. They can now use their meal plans at several locations outside the dining halls, including the IMU River Room, Food for Thought in the Main Library, and Pat’s Diner in the Pappajohn Business Building. With the extended meal options, students are able to purchase a main dish, side dish, and drink for one meal-card swipe.

“I feel this addition will be very beneficial not only to incoming freshmen but to everyone,” said UI sophomore Daniel Deely.

Anne Harkins, the manager of Burge Marketplace, has not noticed much of a major difference in comparison with last year.

“We haven’t been into the fall schedule for long, so it’s hard to say, but we’re not noticing it being any busier than what it was last year this time around,” she said.

Fred Kurt, the Hillcrest Marketplace manager, said preparing for the crowds is the most challenging part, especially with the early arrival of students with OnIowa.

UI sophomore Megan Brunk, 19, said lines in the dining halls were too long for her.

“The waiting lines are really, really long during the rushes, like around 11:30 and 12:30, so some people don’t ever come and eat because they just realize the waiting lines might be like that every day,” she said. “The first day of school … it was literally an hour wait, and I could not eat because I would have been late for class and work.”

Brunk also said the placement of trays was a contributing factor to the overcrowding.

“The trays are kind of a big problem. The trays are out of the way, so people will wander around trying to look for them, so if you were to place the trays by the plates, I think it would cut down a lot of congestion,” she said.


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