A rendering of the intended seating layout for the USuites Dining Hall, scheduled to open in January 2018. (Courtesy of Student Affairs)
As the growing university continues to expand, so does a growing population of students, and with more students, more meal plans. With new residence halls and additional property being added across the growing campus, UMass Lowell made tough decisions on how they would be accommodating their hungry students’ needs.
As the lines increased at the only dining hall on East Campus, a resolution needed to be finalized to allow a more convenient option for all students seeking a full stomach. The clear solution was an additional dining hall on East, within the residence hall University Suites (USuites).
The USuites dining hall will look similar to that of the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. It will stay open an hour longer than the dining hall located in Fox Residence Hall, but will include similar food options to those seen across UMass Lowell’s campus.
It will not only accommodate the 500 students living in University Suites, but also provide easier access to food for any student living in River Hawk Village, the new residence complex on Perkins Street.
“If you take the ICC Dining Hall and put it down here [on East Campus] there would be no reason to walk through it and want to go to Fox,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Larry Siegel.
The purpose of the new dining hall is to allow meal time on East Campus to be equally convenient for all students. It allows the increasingly long lines to be cut in half by providing over 128 seats in the new dining hall along with a fire place, booths, and tables.
“I hope that it will take the stress off of the athletes,” said Siegel. He said the new dining hall will also be a great addition for any and all athletes interested in grabbing something to eat after a long day of practices and classes, who have had difficulties doing so in recent years.
It will allow athletes who are getting back from practice to have the opportunity to go back to their rooms, freshen up and still be able to go to dinner before the dining halls close. However, the USuites dining hall will not only be a convenience for athletes, but other students living in East Campus.
“I’m really excited about it,” says Victoria Arakaelian, a sophomore biology major and resident of University Suites. “If there is a blizzard going on outside I don’t have to walk to Fox Hall to grab something to eat; it’s nice to have something available.”
The new dining hall will also allow equal quality meals to those available at Fox Dining Hall, but menus will also be tweaked weekly to entice more students to venture over to USuites. The residents of USuites will not be the only ones offered this new dining experience.
“I’m looking forward to the convenience of being able to grab and get food right outside my work,” says Gillian Roberts, a freshman clinical lab science major who also works within the offices of USuites. “It’s difficult at times to eat at Fox when it’s so crowded.”
USuites Dining will be open for use in January 2018 at the beginning of the spring semester. “Once its done, I think they’re going to love it,” said Siegel.