On Founders’ Day, Nov. 17, the cafeteria will be closed during dinner, and the Shack and Barista will be closed from 4 to 7 p.m., with cash equivalency only available in the Shack from 7 to 9 p.m.
Founders’ Day features the Wimmerfest dinner, which will be held in the gym at 5:30 p.m.
Event and conference services is responsible for coordinating the logistics for the day. The director of this office, Kathleen Pantalone, explained the reason for the food services adjustment.
“This is a very important and treasured tradition on campus, and we want everyone to participate,” Pantalone said. “As such, we devote all of our resources that night to the Wimmerfest dinner. In addition, Dining Services recruits [other Parkhurst employees] to supplement our staff so that we can serve everyone quickly and efficiently.”
Robert Howard, senior mathematics major, said he did not attend the Wimmerfest dinner his freshman or junior years, and said he is not sure if he will attend this year.
“I myself am not a big fan of big crowds in small spaces like that. But that’s just me - other people are fine with that,” Howard said, “That would be the big thing on deciding whether or not I’ll go, if I know someone there; I don’t like sitting with strangers.”
According to Howard, some students are excited about eating at the dinner, while others are annoyed about the cafeteria and Shack’s closed hours.
“I do understand where annoyed students come from,” Howard said.
“[Though on the other hand], you should have checked the Portal, you should have checked your email – but then again it is also inconvenient to take away one of your eating options just because you don’t like to eat in a large crowd.”
Pantalone said that she was personally not aware of student dissatisfaction with food availability during Founders’ Day.
“I have more students who are disappointed that their families are not able to join them for the Wimmerfest dinner, especially seniors,” Pantalone said.
Pantalone explained that even a student without a ticket can eat a meal provided by the Wimmerfest dinner, as extra food is prepared.
“No student will ever be denied access to the meal. If the student does not have a ticket, he or she may need to wait to ensure that seating is available for everyone who has a ticket. If a seat is not available for [the student], we have to-go containers available to ensure that he or she is able to eat,” Pantalone said.
Howard said that ability to get a meal without a ticket during Wimmerfest does not surprise him.
“I feel like that’s something they should do, simply because this is a Catholic school and that is the Catholic thing to do,” Howard said.
Still, Howard said he wishes meal exchange would be an option at the Shack the night of Founders’ Day.
“It’s very inconvenient for us to have paid this out already, a certain meal plan every week, and then be told we have to pay more on this certain day, just because we chose not to eat in that large crowd [of the Wimmerfest dinner],” Howard said.
Despite any annoyances, though, Howard said that the changes in the food policy for the day are “not really a big deal,” since students have the options of going to the Wimmerfest dinner or going off campus to eat.
“It feels irritating that they might force you to eat there at that time if you want to have a meal that night, but, I understand where they’re coming from. They probably get a big chunk of their staff working on that meal, and a lot of those workers probably have to work extra when working at the Shack afterwards,” Howard said, “And also, it’s only one day.”
According to Howard, most people do go to the dinner.
“About seven-hundred students typically purchase tickets, compared to six-hundred students who go to the cafeteria for dinner on average,” Pantalone said.
“Founders’ Day is a celebration of the entire Saint Vincent community. For this reason, classes are cancelled during the celebration, which starts with Vespers and Honors’ Convocation, followed by the Wimmerfest dinner, culminating with fireworks and campus light-up for Christmas,” Pantalone said. “In my experience, Founders’ Day is one of the most memorable events for students.”
While feeling inconvenienced the day of, Howard still sees Founders’ Day as a good thing for the community.
“I think it’s a fun event,” Howard said. “I honestly think it’s the school doing one of those things to try to connect us all as a community, and I honestly their intentions are good. […] Just because I say something bad about it the day of doesn’t mean I can truly think it’s a bad thing.”
Photos: SVC Flickr