As of Sept. 27, the first-year students living at the Hyatt Place in Medford can use meal swipes at the Commons Marketplace. This is one of several changes enacted by Camille Lizarríbar, dean of student affairs, inspired in part by anop-ed written by Santiago Castillo Juarez, a Hyatt resident. This change is expected to alleviate some of the difficulties these students experience regarding getting meals in transit to and from the Medford/Somerville campus.
"My [op-ed] was published on Monday September 20th....that same week Dean Camille [Lizarríbar] held a town hall style meeting in the Hyatt where we were heard and solutions came very quickly," Castillo Juarez wrote in an email to the Daily.
Director of Dining and Business Services Patti Klos outlined some of the expected changes in an email to the Daily. She noted that there will be no additional cost incurred to the first-year students on this updated plan.
“The 100 students living at the Hyatt will be able to order dinner to-go at Commons Marketplace using their meal swipes on the Mobile App,” Klos said.
David Chen, a student living at the Hyatt, said that despite these changes, there are limitations to the time and frequency at which students can access these additional swipes at the Commons.
“I actually haven't tried [the Commons dinner swipes] yet because there are a few restraints,” Chen, a first-year student, said. “It has to be after 5 p.m., and there has to be an online order.”
However, even with these limitations, Chen looked forward to utilizing this new service, especially with the recent addition of microwaves in students’ rooms.
“I think it's going to be good because I have a microwave ... so if I take out a sandwich, I could just heat it up for breakfast, and I don't have to eat at the Hyatt Hotel,” Chen said.
As Chen mentioned, students also have access to a free breakfast buffet provided by the hotel for all guests. Additionally, they are able to order off the hotel menu but must use their own money to do so.
In an email to the Hyatt residents on Sept. 9, Tim Jordan, assistant director of residential education, outlined some of the regulations regarding dining hours and logistics.
“The Hyatt’s full menu is currently available Tuesdays-Saturdays from 2pm to 10pm, with final orders accepted around 9:45pm," Jordan wrote. "Individual cheese or pepperoni pizzas are the only items currently available 24/7, including on Sunday and Mondays."
Chen noted that the time restraint leaves room for potential improvement but said his experience overall has been alright.
“I would hope they make an earlier [time], like 12 p.m., so I could have lunch at the hotel,” Chen said. "So far I feel like it's pretty satisfactory. I don't really ask for anything more here.”
Additionally, Jordan reminded students that certain requests may not be possible since it is a hotel kitchen and not a dining hall kitchen.
"The Hyatt’s kitchen cannot accommodate mass orders (ie 20+ students ordering at the same time) like kitchens on campus are able to handle, as their kitchen and staff are much smaller than a dining hall such as Dewick," Jordan wrote in an email to the Daily.
Klos added that there are other potential changes still in the works.
“We are working with the management at the Hyatt to have them accept JumboCash for items they sell,” Klos said. “This is still in progress.”
Castillo Juarez, who, in a sense, got the ball rolling on these changes, emphasized his gratitude for modifications to dining, living standards and transportation. In addition, he highlighted the proactive nature of the administration.
“[Dean Lizarríbar] has been incredibly accommodating, understanding and most important of all proactive and actually has enacted effective solutions to our real problems,” Castillo Juarez said. “The administration also heard the concerns of other students and have assured us that they are working on it.”