WSU Dining Services to close Dec. 24, reopen Jan. 4

Students encouraged to use non-university dining options



Einstein Bros. Bagels, Starbucks, Lighty Espresso Bar, and The Market at Cougar Way will operate on limited hours until Dec. 24.

MATT HOLM, Evergreen reporter

WSU Dining Services will close down all student dining options Dec. 24 and reopen Jan. 4 with limited capacity until classes resume. 

Einstein Bros. Bagels, Starbucks, Lighty Espresso Bar, and The Market at Cougar Way will operate on limited hours until Dec. 24, said Sarah Larson, director of residential dining and culinary services.

“A lot of our staff are not full-time, so that week is built into their cyclic breaks,” she said. “It’s part of our model that we use to keep our costs down.”

Most dining services employees are hired to work a specified number of weeks during the year, instead of a consistent weekly schedule, said Brian Keithley, associate director of residential dining.

These weeks are predetermined to align with typical student traffic. This structure allows dining services to schedule as many employees as they think they need, he said.

Larson said dining services has been in contact with WSU Residence Life and WSU Housing to determine the need for student dining options over winter break. Open hours for WSU cafeterias and restaurants will be updated on the dining services website this week. 

After Jan. 4, dining services will gradually reopen various student dining options as students return to campus, she said.

She said she does not expect much demand for student dining options over winter break.

“Typically, there’s less than 75 students; I’m not sure of the exact number that are staying this year,” she said. “But that compares a little bit to the 200 or so that we had over Thanksgiving break.”

Larson said the number of students that placed orders over Thanksgiving break was not significantly different than it had been in previous years.

“We have some of our smaller operations open during those times, and we’ll do anywhere between 14 and 40 transactions in a day, so it’s pretty small,” she said. “Some of those transactions are [from] the few staff that are working.”

Dining services would reevaluate the possibility of opening up necessary dining options if residence life determined a great enough need for their services, which would be determined by student response to residence life surveys, she said.

For students who choose to remain on campus over winter break, Larson said she recommends the use of residence hall kitchens, which will be reopened for the duration of winter break. 

Students also have access to the WSU food pantry, which offers packages of food for students in a socially-distanced manner. Students can also use food services not affiliated with WSU, like DoorDash.