George Caldwell ’24
This month, the largest first-year class in the history of Holy Cross arrived on campus. With 904 new students, the Class of 2026 is 10% larger than last year’s first-year class, according to the College’s website. The difference was clear when we saw the pictures of the First-Year Student Convocation, where the new arrivals were packed shoulder to shoulder in the pews of St. Joseph Chapel. The increased class size will bring more students who can contribute to the Holy Cross community with their perspectives and work ethics. However, the trend of admitting more students each year is unsustainable without a larger investment in dining services.
There have always been lines at Kimball Dining Hall, but this year the problem has reached a new level. As one Junior told me, “The freshman class has over 900 kids in it. Because of this increase in students it’s been causing more crowdedness in Kimball. That’s everyone’s perception of it. It’s much worse. Just look at chicken parm night—it’s never been that bad.” This student was referencing last Wednesday, when Kimball served the popular chicken parmigiana dish as their Classics meal. I arrived at 4:30 p.m. for dinner in anticipation of a line and found that there were two long lines winding across the dining hall for chicken parm. The chicken dish kept running out from the demand, so I did not get my meal until almost half an hour later. When I left Kimball at 5:09 p.m., the line had worsened to the point where there was a line going out the door of the dining hall.
This is a daily problem. While I was writing this article, I got a text at 5:48 p.m. from a friend in Kimball, saying, “It’s gross and crowded.” The unprecedented lines at Kimball have made it difficult for me to fit meals into my schedule. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a break between classes from 12:15 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Due to the onrush of students to the dining hall at this time, I never have time to quickly grab a banana or coffee before my class. Instead, I have to go to my Spanish class hungry. One can only imagine how inconvenient this is for athletes, who need a large amount of nutritious food each day.
I don’t know what the solution is to this problem, but something must be done, especially if the number of first-year students continues to rise in the future. When asked what solution he would suggest for the lines at Kimball, a student told me, “Keep Kimball open longer. If they remain open until 10 o’clock or have a separate dining option that would help. Boston College closes at 9 o’clock, but they have a separate option that’s open until midnight. Over there you have to pay for that second option. Maybe it would help if we had more meal swipes and a second option for dining that’s open later. Also, nobody’s eating the pizza. If they replaced it with another option, then maybe that would help with the line.”
Kimball Dining Hall was built in 1935. Since then, it has been the center of campus life. It’s where we meet with friends, rest from our work, and eat meals that prepare us for the day. However, if the student body continues to grow at this rate, it will be necessary to expand our dining options beyond Kimball. Quick and easy access to food is essential to the health, happiness, and overall well-being of our student body.