Growing population on campus means packed Danna Center, long lines


Hannah Renton

Students and faculty wait in line to order food at Subway located in the Danna Center on Nov. 3, 2021. Loyola’s ever-growing student body is increasing already long wait times for food, causing frustration among students.

Freshman journalism major Bevin Kelley is a commuter student and often wakes up too late to eat breakfast at home, so she opts for breakfast at Starbucks. Lately, however, she doesn’t have the chance to grab a bite to eat because of long lines in the Danna Center for food.

“I usually get here maybe an hour early, and then it takes an hour in line, so then I’m like, ‘Got to get out of line. Got to go to class,’” Kelley said.

Loyola’s population is ever growing, welcoming the largest freshman class in the university’s history this year at 973 new students and bringing along winding lines and long wait times. As a result, some students struggle with feeding themselves on campus in a timely manner.

Senior sociology student Bergin Downs said it’s hard not to notice how busy the Danna Center seems compared to previous semesters.

“It’s very crowded. It’s kind of been a topic of conversation with a lot of people I’ve talked to, just kind of everybody feeling stressed by the density of people in here all the time,” said Downs. “It’s something that’s on my mind every day I’m here.”

Kelley wants more choices, as well as many others.

“I heard a lot of people, especially a lot of freshmen, complaining that there’s not enough options,” she said.

Some students said they thought the absence of the partnership between Tulane University and Loyola was to blame for longer lines. However, dining at Tulane has been reinstated as of Monday, Oct. 18, and lines can still be seen winding around Loyola’s on-campus restaurants.

With increases in Grubhub orders and students in lines, Sodexo employees have been feeling the pressure. Sodexo General Manager Charles Casrill attributes long lines and wait times to the pandemic.

“We feel that with any position there is some stress involved, but our team is working hard to get back to the speed of service we were accustomed to prior to COVID,” he said. “We had less options, less students, and a more controlled environment last year, which made our service style drastically different than this year.”

Casrill said that Sodexo values student opinions, and they are taken into consideration every year when it comes to dining choices.

“We use customer surveys and feedback to try to develop new ideas and service styles to maximize the options we have for campus. We look to make changes to offer new options at the end of every semester,” said Casrill.

Deaux Pizza, one of the university’s late-night restaurants, closed its doors in 2019. Sodexo decided to forego replacing Deaux with another dining location, according to Amy Boyle, the director of residential life at Loyola at the time, and was replaced by a community kitchen.

An alternative to standing in line is the order-ahead feature on Grubhub, which was introduced in 2020. Even this has presented problems for students.

Senior advertising major Avery Tellam said she has never been able to make pick-up orders work, so she waits in the long lines for up to 30 minutes. If the line is too long, she is often discouraged and goes home instead of waiting.

Downs said that unreliable tracking, not knowing where to pick up orders, and the app showing “closed” locations during standard business hours make Grubhub a tricky system to use.

“I would like to be able to use it and have it actually be more effective,” said Downs.

Rachel Hoormann, Loyola vice president of marketing and communications, said that Grubhub has been operational since Sept. 20, 2021, and only closes a location when the location is closed or if the app is down.

Casrill said Sodexo is looking to expand services and increase its staff to accommodate the growing campus population. All positions are available, and Sodexo is interested in hiring student workers as well.