After a nearly two-year hiatus, cross-campus dining will gradually return at the 5Cs beginning Feb. 26, according to emails from college administrators Thursday. A decline in COVID-19 cases across the consortium allowed for the reopening, which will take place in stages to accommodate for operational challenges and flexibility as case counts change.
Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College and Pitzer College will open to all 5C students for brunch and dinner on the weekends and dinner only during weekdays. Harvey Mudd College will only allow cross-campus dining for brunch on weekends.
Additionally, cafes at each of the campuses will also be open for cross-campus dining, and students will be expected to follow policies laid out by the host campus. Food trucks will be limited to students from the campus where they are provided.
“We understand that students across the 5Cs want cross-campus dining for breakfast and lunch during the week,” Pomona College Dean of Students Avis Hinkson and Treasurer Rob Goldberg said in an announcement. “Knowing that lunchtime places the greatest demands on our dining halls, we believe it is prudent to begin 5C dining with dinner mealtimes (and with brunch on the weekends) to ensure that our dining halls are able to continue to meet high standards of service.”
Cross-campus dining for breakfast and lunch may resume once the colleges reassess COVID-19 positivity rates over spring break in March. This will also give administrators the chance to address any operational issues that arise, the emails said.
For now, cross-campus dining will only be open to students. Faculty and staff must follow the rules set by their respective home campuses.
“Now all my Pomona friends can’t bully me to eat at Frary anymore,” Mary-Iris Allison SC ’23 said. “As someone who lives off campus, I was feeling buyer’s remorse about holding on to my meal plan, but now that there are more options for me to get meals closer to my classes and friends, I’m glad I have it.”
Maddie Jones PO ’22 said she appreciates the accessibility cross-campus dining will provide.
“I am so excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting for healthy Scripps food and Pitzer desserts for weeks — or two years, more like it,” Jones said. “I’ve never pushed my chair to Harvey Mudd, but I’m looking forward to that option too. One of the upsides of moving to North Campus was actually the food options with it. So I’m hoping I’ll finally get to use it.”
Like Jones, Honor Stringer PO ’23 is excited for a greater variety of food, since she said she’s been getting “a little bored of Frank and Frary.”
First-years and sophomores will also be able to experience cross-campus dining for the first time.
“I’m very excited. I have Celiac. So, I can’t eat gluten and I’ve struggled a lot to eat at Frank and Frary,” Kai Carse PO ’24 said. “I’m a sophomore, so I’ve never been to the other dining halls. I cannot wait to have more options.”
For some students, however, pandemic concerns remain a pressing issue.
“We didn’t open up 5C dining last semester when COVID was pretty much under control. It doesn’t make any sense,” Andrea Zheng PO ’24 said. “I don’t think COVID is under control yet and they’re opening it up.”
Stringer echoed a similar sentiment.
“I’m a little surprised they mentioned it this early. I wasn’t expecting to hear from them for a few weeks about it,” she said.
Additionally, 5C parties can also resume Feb. 26, with restrictions, the administrators said. Each campus can only host one consortium-wide party for the remainder of the semester, and students will be expected to adhere to event requests and registration processes of the home campus. Only 5C or 7C students will be allowed at parties and no outside visitors will be permitted to attend.
At Mudd, 5C parties will require at least three weeks of planning and scheduling with the Social Chairs and Campus Life, Treasurer Andrew Dorantes and Dean of Students Marco Valenzuela said in an email to Mudd students.
Further, no parties will be permitted between March 17 and March 27, “in recognition of student travel during spring break and the need to monitor positive cases upon return to campus.”
As cases surged across the consortium at the end of fall semester, officials had prohibited in-person 5C events till Feb. 7.
Also beginning Feb. 26, Scripps, Pomona, Pitzer and CMC will allow non-resident students into the residence halls, but not any non-7C guests.
For CMC, the exception to this policy will be during family weekend Feb. 19-20, where immediate family members will be allowed to briefly visit students’ residence halls.
“These updates are contingent on maintaining low cases of COVID-19,” Durantes and Valenzuela said. “Should we have a significant rise in cases, we will adjust these changes as necessary. We hope that this approach to 5C dining and events puts us on a path to resume the vibrant social life that is so key to the Claremont consortium experience.”