The 2023–2024 academic year has added new services for the student body. Hopkins Dining and Transportation Services announced changes to their operations that have elicited positive responses from students as well as constructive feedback.
Hopkins Dining expanded the use of dining dollars and meal swipes this year. The Daily Grind locations at Brody Learning Commons and Mudd Hall now accept dining dollars. The cafes join other food retail operations on campus that are part of the dining program, including the Piccola Allora Cafe at Gilman Hall and Good Part & Co. at the Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center.
In addition, Hopkins Dining extended Levering Kitchens’ operating hours. In previous years, Levering Kitchens was only open for lunch from 11–2 p.m., but starting this semester, it will be open from 4–7 p.m. for dinner with meal exchange options. One meal swipe gives students their choice of entree at any station, a beverage and a dessert or snack.
In an email to The News-Letter, Matthew Moss, assistant vice provost for Hopkins Dining, explained the University’s decision to expand dining operations.
“Expanding the hours of operation at Levering was based on student feedback we had received last year. Students had shared a desire for more retail solutions in that part of campus during the evening hours. The addition of meal exchange was added to solve for overcrowding that we see at Hopkins Cafe and provided a solution that added value to meal plan holders,” Moss said.
In an interview with The News-Letter, sophomore Maria Thomas shared how the changes have made a positive impact on her experience.
“It’s better because I get coffee in the morning, and now I can get Brody Cafe using dining dollars,” she said.
Sophomore Ashwatha Suresh had similar feelings, stating that she now gets dinner at Levering Kitchens as the food options are often better than those at Nolan’s on 33rd and Hopkins Cafe.
However, the time frame of the meal exchange option at Levering Kitchens is inconvenient for some students. Sophomore Laurice Djepeno resides in Homewood Apartments, which is farther from campus than other second-year buildings. She is currently enrolled in the 14 Meals Per Week meal plan with 500 dining dollars. In an interview with The News-Letter, Djepeno expressed her mixed opinions on the changes.
“In the beginning, I was excited because I was like, ‘Yay, Levering has really good stuff,’ but then I realized that there’s a specific time for it. That threw me off because I live in Homewood, and when I’m there the chance of me walking all the way to campus just to get food is not likely,” she said. “The time frame is just not coinciding.”
Suresh also added that the dinner hours could be adjusted. For her, 4–7 p.m. is a rather unusual time for dinner and she would prefer 6–9 p.m.
The dining service changes were recently advertised on the Hopkins Dining Instagram.
“We have been promoting the change on all of the dining social media platforms and websites. We will be working with all of our partners across campus to promote all of the community locations on campus,” Moss said.
Thomas and Suresh shared that they learned about the changes from Instagram and Sidechat while Djepeno learned about the changes through word of mouth.
“I found out about the changes at the end of the spring semester when talking with my friends. They knew about it and told me about it,” Djepeno said. “It’s probably in the email somewhere. We get a lot of emails.”
Blue Jay Shuttle services
In addition to the dining changes on campus, Transportation Services added two new routes for Blue Jay Shuttles, the Avenue Night Ride route and Giant Night Ride route, this semester. Both routes begin at 6 p.m. and run every 20 minutes until 10 p.m., except on holidays.
The Avenue Night Ride route allows students to travel between Charles Village and Hampden more easily at night, with stops at The Charmery and The Rotunda. The Giant Night Ride route links Scott-Bates Commons with the Giant Food grocery store on 41st Street. This route also passes by several apartment buildings on the northern side of Homewood Campus, including the Carlyle Apartments, Broadview Apartments and The Academy on Charles.
With the opening of the School of Advanced International Studies’ new location on 555 Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C., Hopkins also launched a new shuttle route connecting the D.C. campus to nearby metro stations and Union Station on weekdays.
Sophomore Katie Cariaga stayed in Baltimore over the summer, during which she learned about the new shuttle routes. She expressed appreciation for the Giant Night Ride route, which allowed her to shop for groceries more easily.
“I’ve never heard about that, but I definitely need that,” Djepeno said.