In 2009, when the financial crisis hit the University, HUDS eliminated hot breakfast in the upperclassmen Houses. This move saved the University a significant sum of money — an estimated $900,000 a year — at a time when financial conservatism was necessary. While we understand the rationale behind this decision in the context of the financial crisis, we believe that it is now time to reinstate hot breakfast in the Houses.
It has been nearly 10 years since the decision to remove hot breakfast from all dining halls, save freshman dining hall Annenberg. In that time, the University has moved beyond the difficulties of the recession and — despite recent trouble with endowment — seen financial growth. Hot breakfast no longer poses the financial burden it once did, and the University can now afford to provide students with heartier breakfast options.
We believe that a return to dining hall hot breakfast would encourage more students to participate in the most important meal of the day. Indeed, a 2016 UC survey indicated that more upperclassmen would eat in the morning if hot breakfast was reinstated. After eating a full, healthy breakfast, students will be more prepared for the classes they have that day. Students are better equipped to get the most out of their education when they are not distracted by hunger, and more enticing breakfast options could help promote regularized eating schedules.
Part of the rationale for the original move away from hot breakfast was that only 30 percent of students reportedly ate breakfast when hot breakfast options were available. Should the College find that putting hot breakfast in every dining hall is underutilized, a one-House-per-neighborhood rollout could be employed. Putting hot breakfast in one third of the Houses creates an almost perfect student to breakfast ratio. This would give students the opportunity to conveniently access hot breakfast without the University wasting excess food or funds.
Furthermore, we believe that any hot breakfast must be a healthy one. Should the University reinstate hot breakfast, it should prioritize healthful options. Expanding the variety of meal choices is wonderful, but these choices should support healthy lifestyles.
In the past, the University has failed to promote healthy choices for students. When funds were cut from hot breakfast in 2009, the then-Executive Director of HUDS stated that some of the money would be redirected towards improving Brain Break. However, we have found Brain Break options to be often disappointing. The University should learn from these past mistakes and emphasize health in any meal enhancement program — hot breakfast, Brain Break, or otherwise.
Now is the time for the University to bring back hot breakfast. Providing hot breakfast in one House per neighborhood is a reasonable solution to concerns of food waste or unnecessary expenditure. The University no longer has reasonable cause to deny hot breakfast options for all upperclassman Houses, and therefore should take action to reinstate them in a timely manner.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.