By Olivia Nicoletti
An announcement was made on March 25 that Rider University is expanding the hours of dining and recreational facilities after students have voiced concerns at university forums about the availability of dining options on campus in the past months.
Jersey Mike’s is now open both Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and The Pub bar is now open on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Pub is also operating on Sundays from 4:30 to 9 p.m. for to-go orders, according to a Rider press release.
The press release also stated that for the rest of the semester, on Saturdays and Sundays, The Schimek Family Fitness Center in the Student Recreation Center will be open until 7 p.m., making the weekly hours of operation Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Upon students’ requests, the Student Recreation Center Lobby and Atrium will now be open until 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Daly Dining Hall is now offering meat alternatives along with fresh seafood and fresh fruit cups. Sonos and Create have also made plant-based proteins available according to the press release.
In regards to the dining options increasing their days and hours, Vice President for Facilities and University Operations Michael Reca agreed that the weekend access is a great advantage for students.
“What we did is we tried to mimic what we had done in the fall semester, so we kept the same hours but when the spring came, there was a different feeling on campus and the students were questioning why certain things were not open,” Reca said. “It gives them more variety on the weekends so they don’t just have to go to Daly’s, they can go now to various places on campus.”
Faythe Morales, a sophomore health studies major, said she not only appreciates the additional weekend time for dining but feels relieved about the weekday expansions as well. Morales said she would miss dinner every week on Wednesdays due to the early closings.
“The expansion of dining hours has benefitted me a lot as a student because I am not rushing to eat dinner before they close,” Morales said. “With my late classes, I don’t have to worry about missing dinner anymore.”
Ellie Hyland, a junior elementary education major, added to Morales’ sentiment.
“I feel more at ease knowing that if my classes end a little later or I want to sit back and do homework a little longer, I can still be able to eat at the dining hall that day,” Hyland said.
Reca clarified that the changes made were solely based on student suggestions. The staff has paid close attention to complaints and is working to please the majority.
“We’re all ears. I mean, we’re here for you. So as soon as we got those requests, we reacted right away and circled back to some folks from the SGA and circled back to some other students that were requesting this and everyone agreed this change sounded good.”
Hyland is one of many students to appreciate Rider’s attention towards students’ needs.
“It feels good to hear when Rider is listening to the students’ concerns. Especially during COVID, everything is so different than it was in the past and we’re all trying to adapt to the new normal,” Hyland said. “When Rider listens to their students and takes action with their concerns it definitely makes the students feel more comfortable and at home.”
Reca realizes that every decision made for the majority of students will not please everyone, but there seem to be few issues regarding the recent decisions made.
“We always try for most of our students to benefit from these changes,” Reca said. “The challenge is to balance finding the right set of parameters for our service providers as well as what meets the students’ needs.”
Caption: In addition to the expansion of hours, Daly Dining Hall is now offering meat alternatives along with fresh seafood and fresh fruit cups.
Caption: Vice President for Facilities and University Operations, Michale Reca, agrees that the weekend access is a great advantage for students.