Glass divider removed from the Wildcat Den


Students who eat in the Wildcat Den in the University Center are probably noticing a major change that has taken place over the winter break: The glass wall which segregated “meal plan customers” from “paying customers” has been removed.

Greg Minner, head of Dining Services, said he hoped the decision to remove the wall would create a friendlier place for students and staff to eat.

“We were thinking that people like to move back and forth and be able to eat with their friends,” Minner said. “The wall was a hindrance to students and workers. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Minner took over as head of Dining Services this fall. He said that the barrier was something he had asked about as early as the job interview process.

“I got a variety of answers as to why we needed the barrier. We left it up for last semester to see how it was working and if it made any difference,” he said.

The barrier was erected in 2001 as a way of keeping meal plan customers from sharing food with paying customers who did not have an “all you care to eat” meal plan.

The divide was marked with signs informing students of the rule against taking food from one dining area to another but was otherwise unenforced and students largely ignored the barrier.

Minner said that while they constructed the barrier, the then-head of dining services created no plan to enforce it.

“There wasn’t a point to having a barrier,” Minner added.

Minner also said the removal of the glass wall would help create a nicer looking dining room as well as help Dining Services implement future programs.

One future change that Minner said will be happening is a move toward encouraging students to go “tray free” in both cafeterias.

Dining services hopes that by encouraging students to forgo using a tray that less food waste will be produced.