MacGregor May Revive DiningBy Shawdee Eshghi
The residents of MacGregor House are in the process of forming a committee to investigate the re-opening of MacGregor dining hall, said MacGregor House President Anand R. Radhakrishnan '96.
The committee will put together a survey to determine residents' opinions about a dining hall. The survey will be distributed before the end of the semester.
MacGregor Dining was shut down in 1993 when Aramark told students that they would each have to purchase a mandatory $1,150-per-year meal plan in order to keep campus dining halls open.
Town meeting addresses concerns
At a MacGregor town meeting last month, residents discussed the issue of resurrecting their dining hall. The main concern about re-opening the dining hall is that the MacGregor Convenience store is located in the space previously occupied by the dining hall, Radhakrishnan said.
Residents said that they do not want a dining hall at the expense of the convenience store. "We're pretty certain that the two can co-exist, although the convenience store would have to be scaled back," he said.
MacGregor Convenience is popular among residents because of its extensive hours. It is open on weekdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends. "It is the only place open late at night on this end of the campus," said Radhakrishnan.
Others said that a dining hall may not be necessary because cooking facilities are relatively accessible in MacGregor. Each suite of six to eight people shares a kitchenette, and each entry of 30 to 40 people shares an oven.
"There was a dining hall here when I was a freshman, but I never used it," said MacGregor resident Lana L. Luoma '96. " I can cook for myself for a quarter of the cost. You're basically paying for people to wash your dishes."
When the dining hall did exist, many entries made it a point to always eat there together, fostering a cohesive community. "I liked it. I was one of those people who was always there," Radhakrishnan said.
Convenience could make up losses
Only about a third of the dormitory ate at the dining hall every night, and the dining hall was losing money when it was shut down, Radhakrishnan said. However, if the dining hall re-opens, any losses could be balanced with the profits of the convenience store, he said.
The profits from the convenience store are due in large part to Eddie Cogliano, the recently-laid-off Aramark employee who managed MacGregor Convenience. "Eddie was really receptive to the students. He got us pretty much whatever we asked for," Radhakrishnan said. The effect of Cogliano's dismissal remains to be seen, he said.