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Students Complain of ‘Limited Options’ for Lunch at New SEAS Complex

There is no full-service dining available under the undergradate meal plan at the new Science and Engineering Complex in Allston.
There is no full-service dining available under the undergradate meal plan at the new Science and Engineering Complex in Allston. By Pei Chao Zhuo
By Natalie L. Kahn, Crimson Staff Writer

Some students who frequent the new Science and Engineering Complex in Allston complained about a lack of variety in food options available during lunch.

Most engineering students have class several days a week at the new SEC, which cost $1 billion to build and opened to students this fall for lectures, seminars, and labs.

Students seeking lunchtime dining options at the SEC can choose options from the FlyBy station — which contains soups, salads, wraps, and soft drinks — or use their $65 BoardPlus credit to access a wider variety of food at the SEC Café, including sushi and a salad bar. There is no full-service dining available under the undergradate meal plan at the new building.

Victor W. Chen ’22 described FlyBy as a “second lunch” and said he likes to “grab and go” to evade wait times.

Other students who rely upon FlyBy for lunch were less pleased.

Engineering concentrator Vladyslav “Vlad” Ivanchuk ’23 described the SEC FlyBy as “much better” than the FlyBy station located in Annenberg Hall in Cambridge, but said the options are still “pretty limited.”

“I’ve been eating the same sandwich for lunch two weeks in a row every single day almost,” he said. “That just was kind of a signal to me that I have to start going to the normal [dining] hall and get normal food.”

Lauryn Wu ’23, who said she stays at the SEC for lunch every day, said she has a turkey sandwich and plain yogurt nearly every day.

“I’m here pretty much every weekday, and it’s the same food every day,” she said. “If I want to get food that’s basically what they serve in the [dining] halls, we have to pay for it.”

Dakota L. Passage ’23 said he believes the SEAS FlyBy has “good options,” but added that he wishes there were hot food options.

“It’d be obviously better if there was a full service, but it’s just cold food except for the soup,” Passage said.

Other students who do not eat lunch in Allston as frequently said they do not mind the smaller variety.

Robert D. Newman ’23, who said he only dines at SEAS on Tuesdays, said he considers FlyBy to be “pretty good” but acknowledged it would be difficult to eat there more often.

“Every once in a while it's fine, but I would be pretty annoyed if I had to do it every day,” he said.

Harvard University Dining Services spokesperson Crista Martin wrote that HUDS has extended dining hours across campus in an attempt to help students “in accessing their meal plan equitably.”

“Our hope is that in this way, students can employ a range of these means to support their dietary needs with options before they depart their residence, and at extended campuses, including Allston, Longwood and at commitments beyond Harvard’s gates,” Martin wrote.

One solution suggested by Wu was allowing undergraduates on the meal plan to eat at the SEC cafeteria for free.

“Either they should make the food for free,” Wu said, “or have something different every day for FlyBy.”

Ivanchuk also said he believes making the food in the cafeteria part of the meal plan would be a “reasonable decision.”

“They have a grad student cafe here, which has food that is more similar to the dining hall — food that is freshly prepared,” Ivanchuk said. “They could make it possible for us to get food there as part of the undergraduate meal plan.”

—Staff writer Natalie L. Kahn can be reached at natalie.kahn@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @natalielkahn.

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Food and DrinkSEASHUDSAllstonFood