USC students choose to skip meals rather than class due to overcrowded dining halls

Endless lines and an unpredictable Campus Dining App leave students sacrificing regular meals to make it to class on-time.

Photo shows a line of students waiting to enter a dining hall.

Long lines at the dining halls and a dysfunctional order-ahead app are forcing students to choose between grabbing a bite to eat and making it to class on time. They are frustrated as they feel short on time between classes and worry it may begin to affect their academic performance.

“I think if you’re constantly skipping meals because of the line it’s harder to focus in class because you’re having discomfort in your body because you’re hungry,” said freshman computer science major Amy Rong.

Students interviewed outside of Birnkrant Dormitory described the lines as seemingly endless. The wait outside of the dining hall, as well as inside, is long, according to students. Some students have altered their habits, eating at odd hours to avoid the lines.

“I have been going at irregular times to avoid [the long lines],” said freshman computer science major Maya Gutierrez. “So I’ll go really early in the morning and in between lunch and dinner.”

The university introduced the USC Campus Dining App this fall in an attempt to shorten the wait times and encourage students to order ahead. However, there are still many students who opt to wait in lines as opposed to ordering ahead, which only extends the wait times for those ordering on the app. Waits as long as two hours contribute to the overuse of the app and have even caused the app to crash.

At times, using the Campus Dining App can be a gamble, as they have temporarily stopped posting estimated wait times for orders.

“Even if I were to order food, I don’t know when it would be ready. And that’s a time problem,” said senior film and TV production major Ruhi Mansey.

USC released a statement on Sept. 7 recognizing the issues with the dining experience.

“The student experience at USC is a top priority and our team around campus is working hard to address students’ needs at the beginning of an exciting, but very different semester,” said Assistant Vice President of USC Hospitality Dirk de Jong.

Some students, such as sophomore international relations major Tommy Howell, have decided to look on the bright side of this situation.

“I usually go back home,” Harrell said. “My lovely roommate’s a great cook, so he can chef up some good stuff for us.”

USC Hospitality said it is working to remediate the issue and hopefully get students through the dining system more efficiently.

“Like many dining and retail operations around the country, staffing and supply chain issues have created unique challenges,” de Jong said. “USC Hospitality is working to bring more team members on board as quickly as possible.”